Global Warming Makes Trees Grow Faster

Photo via StoryCorps

A report published last week offers a peek into the effects of global warming on the world's trees. As it turns out, early indications hint that rising temperatures and increases in CO2 emissions may actually lead to an accelerated growth in trees. Such a study might seem reassuring to those who believe the threat of climate change to be exaggerated or no cause for alarm, but whatever increase in the growth of trees as a result of climate change has had no significant influence on the well-documented trends of warming. In fact, increased growth in organisms that thrive on CO2 implies an inverse effect on others to which it is a poison.The study, which was carried out by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, reports that global warming also contributes to faster tree growth because it extends the duration of seasons favorable to its development, according to Ambiente Brasil.

Scientists collected data from 55 trees in different forests across the eastern United States and compared it with 100 years of climate measurements and 17 years of carbon emissions data. The reported concluded that tree growth "topped the expected values, probably due to climate change."

It is known that increasing temperatures, the duration of growth and CO2 emissions influence the physiology of trees.

Researchers believe that the increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere help trees facilitate the processes of photosynthesis, while higher temperatures accelerate their metabolisms--though they stressed the need for further research.

While, on the surface, this accelerated tree growth may seem like a wonderful thing, it hasn't nullified the numerous negative consequences of climate change. In fact, any change in the natural behavior of organisms that comprise ecosystems could potentially weaken their already delicate balance--which should have everybody concerned.

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Tags: Biology | Carbon Emissions | Ecology