, Volume 104-105, Issue 1, pp 117-131

Crop responses to CO2 enrichment

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Abstract

Carbon dioxide is rising in the global atmosphere, and this increase can be expected to continue into the foreseeable future. This compound is an essential input to plant life. Crop function is affected across all scales from biochemical to agro-ecosystem. An array of methods (leaf cuvettes, field chambers, free-air release systems) are available for experimental studies of CO2 effects. Carbon dioxide enrichment of the air in which crops grow usually stimulates their growth and yield. Plant structure and physiology are markedly altered. Interactions between CO2 and environmental factors that influence plants are known to occur. Implications for crop growth and yield are enormous. Strategies designed to assure future global food security must include a consideration of crop responses to elevated atmospheric CO2. Future research should include these targets: search for new insights, development of new techniques, construction of better simulation models, investigation of belowground processes, study of interactions, and the elimination of major discrepancies in the scientific knowledge base.