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

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


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 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

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

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

 

OF INTEREST



Yale