Plant Biodiversity and Responses to Elevated Carbon Dioxide

  • Catherine Potvin
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Andrew Gonzalez
  • Paul Leadley
  • Peter Reich
  • Jacques Roy
Part of the Global Change — The IGBP Series book series (GLOBALCHANGE)

9.4 Summary and Conclusions

In situ studies of communities suggest that the interactions between biodiversity, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and C cycling are very complex. Rising CO2 will probably act on plant diversity through a number of very indirect pathways; e.g., by altering the relative availability of resources such as water and nutrients thereby altering competitive interactions among plants. Second, changes in plant community structure due to rising CO2 concentrations, particularly in highly dynamic systems, may be as or more important in determining biomass responses than the direct effect of elevated CO2. Finally, species loss resulting from global change might reduce productivity as well as responsiveness to elevated CO2, although the response will largely depend on species identity.

Over all, simple scenarios invoking a clear and simple biospheric loop between atmospheric CO2 and terrestrial biomass due to CO2 fertilization need to be abandoned and replaced by an understanding of a complex system involving both biotic and abiotic feed-back loops. Our ability to either manage or predict the relationship between diversity and ecosystem function is still limited.


Fine Root Biomass Calcareous Grassland Plant Community Structure Species Loss Plant Biodiversity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Potvin
    • 1
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 2
  • Andrew Gonzalez
    • 1
  • Paul Leadley
    • 3
  • Peter Reich
    • 4
  • Jacques Roy
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Ecologie des Populations et CommunauteUniversite Paris-Sud XIOrsay CedexFrance
  4. 4.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  5. 5.Department of Ecosystem FunctionCenter of Functional Ecology and EvolutionMontpellier Cedex 5France

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