(November 2, 2010) A team of scholars from China and Canada provides more evidence of the benefits that CO2 provides to ecologically stressed regions, in a new study entitled Evaluating the effects of future climate change and elevated CO2 on the water use efficiency in terrestrial ecosystems of China.
Water use efficiency is an important determinant of plant yield, defined as the number of units of a crop produced from each unit of available water.
Based on computer models that project changes in the Chinese ecosystems in the 90-year period to 2099, the scholars conclude that “further elevated CO2 concentrations will significantly enhance the [water-use efficiency] over China by the end of the twenty-first century, especially in forest areas, adding that the benefits would occur “primarily in high latitude and altitude regions” such as in the Tibetan Plateau. Not all regions would benefit, however – some of China’s southern areas would experience a lower water use efficiency.
The China-based scholars hail from the International Institute for Earth System Science at Nanjing University, the International Research Center of Spatial Ecology at Zhejiang Forestry University in Linan, the Institute of Forest Ecology and Environment at the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing and the State Key Laboratory of Hydrology, Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University in Nanjing. The Canada-based scholars come from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of British Columbia and the Institute of Environment Sciences at the University of Quebec at Montreal. Their peer-reviewed study appears in the October 23 issue of Ecological Modelling.