Plant competition influences climate

Published on
December 9, 2015

It is well accepted that vegetation stands can strongly influence the climate through their influence on CO2, and energy- and moisture exchange, and their influence on future climates needs to be understood. This effect strongly depends on the type of plants that will prevail in the future. Scientists from CSA in collaboration with the Ecology and Biodiversity group, the Copernicus Institute (both UU) and the Meteorology and Air Quality group (WU) found with a model, which assumes future prevailing plants to be the best competitors, gave better predictions of vegetation-atmospheric interactions than a model that assumes those plants to be simply the best performers. Competition was predicted to result in vegetation stands with larger leaf areas, but lower carbon uptake. As result net ecosystem CO2 uptake will be slower, while there can be significant consequences for local temperatures and moisture exchange.  

An article about this subject was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. You can read the full article here.