Abstract

Growth is often stimulated when C 3 plants, including trees, are exposed to elevated CO 2 , although evidence from the literature suggests that the responsiveness of trees to CO 2 varies, depending on species. This paper explores some of the cellular mechanisms which underlie increased growth, using both the authors' own data and information from the literature. Mechanisms include photosynthetic fixation of CO 2 and the role of Rubisco, the link between carbon fixation and growth, in particular, how increased carbon is thought to influence the process of plant cell expansion and cell production and finally the consequences of cellular effects for the growth and development of whole plants. Data are presented for the growth and development of hybrid poplars in elevated CO 2 , following both field (open-top chambers) and laboratory experiments which suggest that this type of tree with indeterminate, rapid growth may be favoured by the CO 2 concentrations of the next century.

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