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Effect of Increased Carbon Dioxide on Plants Essay

At present, the world is currently experiencing a global environmental crisis. The main environmental issue is global warming. The primary reason behind global warming is the increase in carbon dioxide levels due to fossil fuel emissions. The repercussions of the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have long been speculated upon, but how does it really affect plant life? This essay seeks to reveal that even though the atmospheric increase of carbon dioxide is initially beneficial for plants, the other factors that needed to be considered prove to undermine these benefits.

Essentially, plants need carbon dioxide. Plants require carbon dioxide for the production of food or photosynthesis (Shwartz, 2002). In fact, in the beginning, the atmosphere was originally composed of only nitrogen and carbon dioxide (Fowler, 2004). Oxygen only became present as a result of photosynthesis, which turned carbon dioxide to oxygen. If plants need carbon dioxide for food, it would mean that an increase of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would pose no problem; it may even contribute in speeding its growth (Fowler, 2004; Shwartz, 2002).

This could also mean that by planting more trees, the carbon dioxide levels may decrease in the atmosphere as the trees convert into oxygen (Shwartz, 2002). However, according to a Stanford University experiment, it was found that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere only causes plant growth when the other elements to consider—such as temperature, water and nitrogen—are maintained at their usual levels (Shwartz, 2002). At normal conditions, plant growth can be expected. Nonetheless, if there are changes in any of the other elements, increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can diminish plant growth (Shwartz, 2002).

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Hence, plants may initially benefit from the high carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, but when the other elements are considered, plant growth is jeopardized.

References

Fowler, S. (2004). Positive effects of carbon dioxide on plant growth. Ezinearticles. com. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from http://ezinearticles. com/? Positive-Effects-of-Carbon-Dioxide-for-Plant-Growth&id=1607 Shwartz, M. (2002). High carbon dioxide levels can retard plant growth, study reveals. Stanford Report. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from http://news-service. stanford. edu/news/2002/december11/jasperplots-124. html

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