ENABLING MANAGEMENT RESPONSE OF SOUTHEASTERN AGRICULTURAL CROP AND PASTURE SYSTEMS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
Title: A review of elevated atmospheric CO2 effects on plant growth and water relations: implications for horticulture
Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 7, 2010
Publication Date: February 9, 2011
Citation: Prior, S.A., Runion, G.B., Marble, C., Rogers Jr, H.H., Gilliam, C.H., Torbert III, H.A. 2011. A review of elevated atmospheric CO2 effects on plant growth and water relations: implications for horticulture. HortScience. 46(2):158-162.
Interpretive Summary: The global concentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing. Plants can be stimulated by elevated CO2 as reflected by increased photosynthesis and growth and less water use. Having looked at the available CO2 data base, this paper covers a series of priority research areas in horticulture such as identifying drought tolerant species, soil carbon storage potential, greenhouse gas emissions, and potential pest problems. Such information is needed for horticulture industry to develop best management strategies to meet the challenges of changing future environmental conditions.
Empirical records provide incontestable evidence for the global rise in CO2 concentration in the earth's atmosphere. Plant growth can be stimulated by elevation of CO2; photosynthesis increases and economic yield is often enhanced. The application of more CO2 can increase plant water use efficiency and result in less water use. After reviewing the available CO2 literature, we offer a series of priority targets for future research, including: 1) a need to breed or screen varieties and species of horticultural plants for increased drought tolerance; 2) determining the amount of C sequestered in soil from horticulture production practices for improved soil water holding capacity and to aid in mitigating projected global climate change; 3) determining the contribution of the horticulture industry to these projected changes through flux of CO2 and other trace gases (i.e., nitrous oxide and methane) to the atmosphere; and 4) determining how CO2-induced changes in plant growth and water relations will impact the complex interactions with pests (weeds, insects, and diseases). Such data are required to develop best management strategies for the horticulture industry to adapt to future environmental conditions.