The Role of CO2 in Changes on the African Savanna

Recent studies show that many of the world’s savannas, including famed southern African landscapes, are experiencing significant change as rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere favor the growth of trees over grasslands. READ MORE

 

2 of 2



This series of photos depicts how the roots of seedlings of a savanna tree, the paperbark thorn (Acacia sieberiana), grow under different concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as simulated in a greenhouse experiment. Barney Kgope of the South African National Biodiversity Institute exposed the seedlings, from left, to 180 parts per million (ppm) of CO2, roughly the atmospheric CO2 concentration at the last glacial maximum, about 20,000 years; 260 ppm, roughly the CO2 concentration at the start of the Industrial Revolution; 375 ppm, a little lower than today's atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 400ppm; and 540 ppm, an atmospheric CO2 concentration that could be reached by mid-century. As the pictures show, the so-called "CO2 fertilization effect" can significantly boost the growth of trees and their roots. Scientists believe that this phenomenon is leading to expansion of trees at the expense of grasses in many African savannas. (Photo courtesy of Barney Kgope/South African National Biodiversity Institute)

2 of 2


 
Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter


CONNECT


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 VIDEO

“video
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land.
Watch the video.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 PHOTO ESSAY

“Alaska
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S.
View the photos.

e360 VIDEO

“Battle
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Food waste
An e360 video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado wildfires
An e360 video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate.
Watch the video.

e360 SPECIAL REPORT

“Tainted
A three-part series Tainted Harvest looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup.
Read the series.

OF INTEREST



Yale