Implications of CO2 Effects on Vegetation for the Global Carbon Budget

  • Roger M. Gifford
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 15)


On a geological timescale, the carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere was, over the few millennia before industrialisation, about as low as it has ever been. It has probably been within that low range of 200 to 300 ppmv throughout the 2 million years of human evolution. To understand the role of vegetation in modulating recent anthropogenic global atmospheric change, examination of the reasons for the low pre-industrial CO2 concentration is instructive.


Soil Organic Matter Litter Input Standing Biomass Vegetation Productivity Soil Organic Matter Decomposition 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams JM, Faure H, Faure-Denard L, McGlade JM, Woodward FI (1990) Increases in terrestrial carbon storage from the last glacial maximum to the present. Nature 348:711–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albersheim, P (1965) Biogenesis of the cell wall. In: Bonner J, Varner JE (eds) Plant Biochemistry. Academic Press, New York, pp298–321Google Scholar
  3. Bacastow, R, Keeling CD (1973) Atmospheric carbon dioxide and radiocarbon in the natural carbon cycle. II. Changes from AD. 1700 to 2070 as deduced from a geochemical model. In: Woodwell GM, Pecan EV (eds) Carbon and the biosphere. United States Atomic Energy Commission, Washington (CONF-720510), pp86–135Google Scholar
  4. Berner, R (1990) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over Phanerozoic time. Science 249:1382–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berner, R (1991) A model for atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic time. American J Science 291:339–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boden, TA, Kanciruk P, Farrell MP (1990) Trends ’90: A Compendium of Data on Global Change. United States Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  7. Bolin B (1970) The carbon cycle. Scientific Amer 223:124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bolin B (1983) The carbon cycle. In: Bolin B, Cook RB (eds) The major biogeochemical cycles and their interactions. (SCOPE 21) John Wiley, Chichester, pp41–45Google Scholar
  9. Bosatta E, Agren GI (1985) Theoretical analysis of decomposition of heterogeneous substrates. Soil Biol Biochem 17:601–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Broecker WS, Takahashi T, Simpson HJ, Peng T-H (1979) Fate of fossil fuel carbon dioxide and the global carbon budget. Science 206:409–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conroy JP, Milham PJ, Barlow EWR (1992) Effect of phosphorus availability on the growth response of Eucalyptus grandis to high CO2. Plant Cell Environ (in press)Google Scholar
  12. Cure JD (1985) Carbon dioxide doubling responses: A crop survey. In: Strain BR and Cure JD (eds) Direct effects of increasing carbon dioxide on vegetation. DOE/ER-0238. United States Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., pp99–116Google Scholar
  13. Esser G (1987) Sensitivity of global carbon pools and fluxes to human and potential climatic impacts. Tellus 39B:245–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fogg GE (1991) Changing productivity of the oceans in response to a changing climate. Annals of Botany 67 (Suppl 1):57–60Google Scholar
  15. Folland CK, Karl TR, Vinnikov KYA (1990) Observed climate variations and change. In: Houghton JT, Jenkins GJ, Ephraums JJ. (eds) Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/WMO/UNEP/Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ppl96–238Google Scholar
  16. Freidli H, Lotscher H, Oeschger H, Siegenthaler U, Stauffer B (1986) Ice-core record of 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 in the past two centuries. Nature 324:237–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Freudenberg K (1964) The formation of lignin in the tissue and in vitro. In: Zimmermann MH (ed) The Formation of Wood in Forest Trees. Academic Press, New York, pp 203–218Google Scholar
  18. Garcia-Moya E, Imbamba SK, Kamnalrut A, Evenson JP, Hall DO, Long SP, Scurlock JMO (1988) Primary productivity of natural grass ecosystems of the tropics: a reassessment. In: Holm M (ed) Ecology of arable lands. Martinus Nijhoff, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  19. Gifford RM (1979) CO2 and plant growth under water and light stress: implications for balancing the global carbon budget. Search 10:316–318.Google Scholar
  20. Gifford RM (1980) Carbon storage by the biosphere. In: Pearman, GI (ed) Carbon dioxide and climate: Australian Research. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, ppl67–181Google Scholar
  21. Gifford RM (1987) Global photosynthesis, atmospheric carbon dioxide and man’s requirements. In : Giovannozzi-Sermamii G, Nannipieri P (eds) Current perspective in environmental biogeochemistry. C.N.R.-I.P.R.A, Rome, Italy, pp413–444Google Scholar
  22. Gifford RM (1991) Impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on the carbon balance of vegetation. Australia, Energy Research and Development Corporation Project Report No. ERDC 37,56pGoogle Scholar
  23. Gifford RM (1992) Interactions of carbon dioxide and growth limiting environmetal factors in vegetation productivity: Implications for the global carbon cycle. Advances in Bioclimatology 1:24–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gillis AM (1991) Why can’t we balance the globe’s carbon budget? BioScience 41:442–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goudriaan J (1991) Atmospheric CO2, global carbon fluxes and the biosphere. In: Rabbinge R, Goudriaan J, Keulen H van, Penning de Vries FWT, Laar HH van (eds) Theoretical production ecology: Reflections and prospects. Pudoc, Wageningen. pp 17–40Google Scholar
  26. Goudriaan J and Ketner P (1984) A simulation study for the global carbon cycle, including man’s impact on the biosphere. Climatic Change 6:167–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harmon, ME and Hua, C (1991) Coarse woody debris dynamics in two old-growth ecosystems. Bioscience 41:604–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Higuchi T (1980) Lignin structure and morphological distribution in plant cell walls. In: Kirk TK, Higuchi T and Chang H-M (eds) Lignin biodegradation: Microbiology, chemistry and potential applications, Vol 1. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, pp2–19Google Scholar
  29. Hocking PJ, Meyer CP (1991) Carbon dioxide enrichment decreases critical nitrate and nitrogen concentrations in wheat. J of Plant Nutrition 14:571–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Houghton JT, Jenkins, Ephraums JJ (eds) (1990) Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, WMO/UNEP/Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 365p.Google Scholar
  31. Houghton RA (1991) Tropical deforestation and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Climiatic Change 19:99–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Houghton RA, Boone RD, Fruci JR, Hobbie JE, Melillo JM, Palm CA, Peterson BJ, Shaver GR, Woodwell GM, Moore B, Skole DL, Myers N (1987) The flux of carbon from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere in 1980 due to changes in land use: geographical distribution and global flux. Tellus 398:122–139Google Scholar
  33. Hunt R, Hand DW, Hannah MA, Neal AM (1991) Response to CO2 enrichment in 27 herbaceous species. Functional Ecology 5:410–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Idso SB (1991) Comment on “Modelling the seaonal contribution of a CO2 fertilization effect of the terrestrial vegetation to the amplitude increase in the atmosphere in atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa observatory: by G.H. Kohlmaier et al.” Tellus 43B:338–341Google Scholar
  35. Jenkinson DS (1990) The turnover of organic carbon and nitrogen in soil. Phil Trans R Soc Lond 329:361–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jenkinson DS, Adams DE, and Wild A (1991) Model estimates of CO2 emissions from soil in response to global warming. Nature 351: 304–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jordan DB, Ogren WL (1984) The CO2/O2 specificity of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase: Dependence on ribulose bisphosphate concentration, pH and temperature. Planta 161:308–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Keeling, C.D., Bacastow, R.B., Carter, AF., Piper, S.C., Whorf T.P., Heimann, M., Mook, W.G., Roeloffzen, H. (1989) A three-dimensioanl model of atmospheric CO2 transport based on observed winds: 1. Analysis of observational data. In: Peterson DH (ed) Aspects of climate variability in the Pacific and the Western Americas. American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph 55, pp165–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kerr RA (1977) Carbon dioxide and climate: carbon budget still unbalanced. Science 197:1352–1353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kimball BA (1983) Carbon dioxide and agricultural yield: An assemblage and analysis of 770 prior observations. United States Department of Agriculture, Water Conservation Lab., Phoenix, Arizona, WCL Report 14, 71pGoogle Scholar
  41. Kimball BA (1985) Adaptation of vegetation and management practices to a higher carbon dioxide world. In: Strain BR, Cure JD (eds) Direct effects of increasing carbon dioxide on vegetation. DOE/ER-0238. United States Department of Energy, Washington D.C., pp185–204Google Scholar
  42. King AW, Emanuel WR, Post WM (1992) Projecting future concentrations of atmospheric CO2 with global carbon cycle models: The importance of simulating historical changes. Environmental Management 16:91–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lieth H. (1975) Modelling the primary productivity of the world. In: Lieth H, Whittaker RB (eds) Primary productivity of the biosphere. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp237–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Myers N (1990) Tropical forests. In: Leggett J (ed) Global Warming: The Greenpeace Report. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp372–399.Google Scholar
  45. Myers N (ed) (1989) Deforestation rates in tropical forests and their climatic implications. Friends of the Earth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  46. Norby RJ, O’Neill EG (1991) Leaf area compensation and nutrient interactions in CO2-enriched seedlings of yellow-poplar (Linodendron tulipifera L.). New Phytol 17:515–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ogren WL, Hunt LD (1978) Comparative biochemistry of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase in higher plants. In: Siegelman HW, Hind G (eds) Photosynthetic carbon fixation. Plenum Press, New York, London, pp 127–138Google Scholar
  48. Olson JS, Watts JA, Allison LJ (1983) Carbon in live vegetation of major world ecosystems. ORNL-5862. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. 180pGoogle Scholar
  49. Paembonan SA, Hagihara A, Hozumi K (1991) Long-term measurement of CO2 release from the aboveground parts of a hinoki forest tree in relation to air temperature. Tree Physiology 8:399–405Google Scholar
  50. Platt T and Subba Rao DV (1975) Primary productivity of marine microphytes. In: Cooper JP (ed) Photosynthesis and productivity in different environments. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 249–280Google Scholar
  51. Post WM, Emanuel WR, Zinke PJ, Stangenberger AG (1982) Soil carbon pools and world life zones. Nature 298:156–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rawson HM (1992) Plant responses to elevated CO2 under different environmental conditions: responses to temperature. Aust J Bot (in review)Google Scholar
  53. Reiners WA (1973) Terrestrial detritus and the carbon cycle. Brookhaven Symp Biol 24:303–327Google Scholar
  54. Rodin LE, Basilevich NI, Rozov NN (1975) Productivity of the World’s main ecosystems. In: Reichle DE, Franklin JF, Goodall DW (eds) Productivity of the World ecosystems. National Academy of Science, Washington D.C. pp 15–17,20,22Google Scholar
  55. Rosenzweig, ML (1968) Net primary productivity of terrestrial communities: Prediction from climatological data. Amer. Naturalist 102:67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schlesinger WH (1977) Carbon balance in terrestrial detritus.. Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics 8:51–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schlesinger ME, Mitchell JFB (1985) Model projections of the equilibrium climatic response to increased carbon dioxide. In: MacCracken MC, Luther FM (eds) Projecting the climatic effects of increasing carbon dioxide. DOE/ER-0237. United States Department of Energy, Washington DC. pp 81–147Google Scholar
  58. Schwartzman and Volk (1989) Biotic enhancement of weathering and the habitability of Earth. Nature 340:457–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Siegenthaler, U, Oeschger H (1978) Predicting future atmospheric carbon dioxide levels: Review of approaches. Science 199:388–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tans PP, Fung IY, Takahashi T (1990) Observational constraints on the global atmospheric CO2 budget. Science 247:1431–1438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Thornley JHM, Fowler D, Cannell MGR (1991) Terrestrial carbon storage resulting from CO2 and nitrogen fertilization in temperate grasslands. Plant Cell and Environment 14:1007–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tinker PB and Ineson P (1990) Soil organic matter and biology in relation to cclimate change. In: Scharpenseel HW, Schomaker M, Ayoub A (eds) Soils on a warmer Earth. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp71–87Google Scholar
  63. Uchijima Z and Seino H (1985) Agroclimatological evaluation of net primary productivity of natural vegetation (1) Chikugo model for evaluating net primary productivity. Journal of Agricultural Meteorology 40:343–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Volk, T (1989) Rise of angiosperms as a factor in long term climatic cooling. Geology 17:102–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Watson RT, Rodhe H, Oeschger H, Siegenthaler U (1991) Greenhouse gases and aerosols. In: Climate Change: The IPCC scientific assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/WMO/UNEP/Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–40Google Scholar
  66. Whittaker RH (1975) Communities and Ecosystems, 2nd edition. Macmillan, New York, 387pGoogle Scholar
  67. Wong SC (1980) Elevated atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 and plant growth I. Interactions of nitrogen nutrition and photosynthetic capacity in C3 and C4 species. Oecologia 44:68–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Woodwell GM, Houghton RA (1977) Biotic influences on the world carbon budget. In: Stumm W (ed) Global chemical cycles and their alterations by man, (Proceedings of the Dahlem Conference, Berlin), pp61–72Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger M. Gifford
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Plant IndustryCSIROCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations