Plants and Soil

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.

Photosynthesis Easy Guide

Photosynthesis: Carbon Cycle & Climate

A simple explanation of how plants photosynthesize. We also answer questions like: Why is Photosynthesis Important? What is the formula? How does photosynthesis connect the carbon cycle? How is it related to climate change?

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Plants wilting due to heat stress and climate change

7 Effects of Climate Change on Plants

We explain the effects of higher levels of carbon dioxide, heatwaves, weeds, pests, and diseases, on terrestrial and ocean plants. We also look at how global warming affects the amount of arable land that is available for crops.

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Rice Field Climate Change

Is More CO2 Good for Plants?

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.

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Banaue Rice Terraces of Luzon, Philippines

10 Reasons Why Plants are Important

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.

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Respiration In Plants Explained

What Is Plant Respiration?

Why and how do plants respire? Do they use aerobic or anaerobic respiration? How does plant respiration (cellular respiration) affect the CO2/oxygen balance? In general, do plants respire more or less than we thought? We provide all the answers.

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Plant transpiration explained

What Is Transpiration?

Transpiration is a critical mechanism in the tropical rainforest water cycle. So why and how do plants transpire? What factors affect the rate of plant transpiration? How does global warming influence the transpiration process? We explain all you need to know.

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Amazon Forest Floor

Why Is Soil So Important To The Planet?

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.

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Information & Facts about Plants and Soil

• 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).