U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

New, Surprising Insights into Potential Effects of Ozone Pollution on Forest Growth
Published: September 15, 2008
Posted: January 27, 2009

Fossil fuel use is causing an increase in the concentrations of both carbon dioxide and ozone in the atmosphere. The increasing carbon dioxide concentration is expected to stimulate tree growth, while available data indicate that increasing ozone can counteract the beneficial effects of increasing carbon dioxide on tree growth. Recently published measurements from the longest running field experiment exposing trees to elevated carbon dioxide and ozone, research sponsored by DOE, surprisingly indicate that the combination of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone stimulated root growth in some tree communities. The scientists conducting the research suggested that the death of ozone-sensitive trees followed by increased growth of ozone-tolerant trees made possible by access to space and soil nutrients that would have been used by ozone-sensitive trees might be the explanation for the increased root growth. But whatever the mechanism might be, these new results indicate a possible long term response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone that is not generally considered in assessments of potential effects of the changing composition of the atmosphere on forest tree growth.

Contact: Jeffrey S. Amthor, SC-23.1, (301) 903-2507
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE)

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)