Until now, scientists believed that rising temperatures would cause trees to emit much more carbon dioxide, which would mean a constant feedback between plant respiration and global warming: at higher temperatures, more CO2 in the atmosphere, and higher CO2, more temperature.
However, a new study published in the journal Nature shows that trees are able to adapt their breathing to increases in temperature. This would imply that they play a less important role than previously suggested in accelerating climate change.
The international team of researchers examined ten North American tree species under forest conditions over a period of three to five years during which there was a warming of 3.4 ° C. The trees adapted to this change and their respiration only increased by 5%, compared to the 23% that scientists expected in the event that no acclimatization occurred.
Photo: Artur Stefanski