forests, loving more CO2 …

Exposing Tasmanian Blue Gums to elevated levels of CO2 is a real boost, up to more than doubling the rate of growth, with just 300ppm extra CO2.

Plant Growth Database (2 May 2016)
Our latest result of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature is for Tasmanian Bluegum (Quentin et al., 2015). To access the entire database, click here.

The Tasmanian Bluegum is used around the world as a timber resource. The Sydney Blue Gum, Eucalyptus saligna, has an even higher growth rate, at more than 200% extra growth with 300ppm more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Sherwin et al. (2013)

Well watered and fertilized potted plants grown from the age of 7 weeks for 80 more days in glasshouses at ambient temperature (TA)
219%

 

 

Sherwin et al. (2013)

Well watered and fertilized potted plants grown from the age of 7 weeks for 80 more days in glasshouses at elevated temperature (TE = TA+4°C)
246%

This data, and all the rest shown at ‘co2science’, explains the resurgent increase of green growth in all the desert regions of the world. In the northern parts of Australia, Eucalyptus tetrodonta shows similar massive increases in growth rate.

Even better, coffee just loves more CO2, 175% more according to 2 trials:

Coffee [Coffea arabusta] 2 175.5%

Now, look at Terminalias, a genus with several local commercial species, more CO2 is like giving the plant steriods.

Terminalia arjuna [Terminalia] 8 190.6%
Terminalia chebula [Myrobalan] 8 442.5%

Time to get the gas burners out!

Pindan Walnut, Terminalia cunninghamii

Pindan Walnut, Terminalia cunninghamii

Good tidings: Good News in Global Warming SOURCE

NASA announced that the Earth is getting greener. Literally greener. Plant growth is way up. Why is plant growth way up? Because of all the extra carbon dioxide in the air.

According to the study, which was published this week in the scientific journal Nature, the total area of the planet that’s covered by plants has increased by more than 11 million square miles in the last 33 years. For perspective: North America, including Greenland, is a little less than nine and a half million square miles. Of course, not all of this increase is due to CO2 and global warming. But 78 percent of it is. (Says the study.)

This is very good news. Plants feed the world. It is not, however, unexpected news. Wall Street Journal readers may recall a piece published in May of 2013 called “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide,” by William Happer, one of Princeton’s top-flight physicists, and Harrison Schmitt, a geologist, a former Republican senator from New Mexico, and an Apollo astronaut who walked on the moon.

“Contrary to what some would have us believe,” wrote Schmitt and Happer, “increased carbon dioxide will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.”

Needless to say, they were right on the money. And this was no shot in the dark — in fact, the benefit of carbon dioxide to plant life is not only a well-established fact, but suffocatingly obvious, when you think about it: The (very reasonable, entirely correct) trope of conservationists is that we need more plants, because we breathe oxygen and emit carbon dioxide, whereas plants breathe carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. It follows that plants need carbon dioxide in more or less the same way we need oxygen.

 This is why — point out Schmitt and Happer — commercial greenhouses tend to grow plants in air that is 150 percent richer in carbon dioxide than the great outdoors. Schmitt and Happer’s piece also explained that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 make plants more resistant to drought — basically, by reducing the number of water-wasting air holes a plant needs to breathe — which (they say) is why droughts in the age of global warming don’t look like droughts in the age of the Dust Bowl.

And they point out that the current elevated CO2 levels are still much lower than CO2 levels were in the distant (pre-human) past. They add that “variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere” than they do with increased levels of carbon dioxide. And that “there isn’t the slightest evidence that more carbon dioxide has caused more extreme weather.”

Unfortunately, Happer and Schmitt’s good tidings were not enough to assuage the concerns of environmental opinion-makers. But the fact that their predictions have been perfectly borne out should give some ammunition to fighters of the good fight.

And in the meantime, everyone on every side of the global-warming argument should take a few moments to appreciate these, our salad days, and — at last — some good news in global warming.

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to kimenvhort@yahoo.com.au
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