Articles on the ecological role of plants and soil, including photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration, as well as the effects of climate change on trees, shrubs, plant vegetation and the pedosphere, and much more.
How are plants likely to react as climate change intensifies, temperatures get hotter and levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) rise ever higher? Will plant growth increase? If so, will it strengthen or weaken the ability of plants to offset greenhouse gas emissions by increasing their rate of photosynthesis? Will excess CO2 threaten phytoplankton productivity in the ocean? These are difficult questions to which scientists, as yet, have no precise answers. We just don’t know if more CO2 is good for Plants.
We explain how plants limit climate change by absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2), how they create energy and oxygen, help the soil and the water cycle, create habitats for wildlife, provide ingredients for medicines, and more. We also show why trees and plants are important components of green infrastructure and ‘sponge cities’, due to their shading effect, and their absorption of air pollutants and excess flood water.
We explain what soil contains, how it forms, how it supports plants, and how it’s affected by climate change. We also explain “soil profiles” and “soil horizons”. The importance of soil rests on the fact that it provides a home for plants and trees, without whom life would be impossible. It is also a major carbon reservoir and of great value to our climate system.
• Without plants, no living creature can survive. • Plants produce the oxygen we breathe. Half is produced in the ocean by phytoplankton and the other half is produced on land by trees, shrubs and other vegetation. • Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak. • Trees and plants can reduce air pollution by absorbing pollutants. Trees with hairy surfaces, for instance, like pines and cypresses, are good filters of small aerosols and other particulate matter (PM). • In mild climates, it takes nature between 200 and 400 years to make 1 cm (0.4 inch) of topsoil. • A single teaspoon of rich garden soil can hold up to one billion bacteria. • 90 percent of the foods we eat come from just 30 plants. • Grass makes up 25 percent of all plant life on earth. • China boasts the world's highest vegetable consumption per capita (328 kg/ 721 pounds). The average global consumption of vegetables per capita is around 140 kg (308 pounds).