For 2 months, I’ve been working on a project that aims to build the perfect environment for plants to thrive. As I did my research about the factors that affect plant growth, many questions arose in my head. In particular, I asked myself how much CO2 is too much for my plants? With climate change becoming a growing concern, the rise of CO2 on the Earth has risen. Therefore, I would like to know how CO2 levels have an effect on plants.
The symbiotic relationship between plants and humans
All my life, I’ve known of the symbiotic relationship that humans and plants have. First, humans breathe in oxygen, breathe out CO2. The plants then breathe back in CO2 and breathe out oxygen for the cycle to restart. That said, the rise of CO2 levels on Earth, this cycle has definitely been disrupted. Therefore, I wonder how plants will react to an increase in such a crucial nutrient.
The pros and cons
In a recent study done by Global Biogeochemical Cycles, the researchers deduced that an increase in CO2 in an environment, caused leaf thickness to increase by one third of the original size. Despite the increase in leave thickness, the result also required more need for water. On the other hand, research done at the University of Illinois found that an increase of CO2 caused plant defences to go down. As a result, this caused these plants to attract many more pests than the plants grown at normal CO2 levels.
Ultimately, the rise of CO2 levels does not do any good for plants. Despite providing extra CO2 for plants, this also causes the plants to desire extra nutrients from all the nutrients that they receive. (such as water). For these reasons, the consequences that extra CO2 brings to the environment outweigh the minimal benefits. Therefore, extra CO2 cannot be considered beneficial to plants.