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Trees 'grow faster due to global warming'

Trees are growing faster as a result of man-made global warming, a study suggests.

Treesgrow

Trees seems to be growing faster because of climate change, the study claimed.
In one forest studied by researchers an extra 1.8 tonnes of timber per acre is appearing each year.
The trees, in the US state of Maryland, are sprouting up more quickly than at any time in the past 225 years, say the scientists.
They put the accelerated growth down to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.
The discovery was made by researchers who spent more than 20 years tracking the growth of 55 stands of mixed hardwood forest plots.

They compared trees ranging from five to 225 years old. More than 90 per cent of the stands were found to have grown two to four times faster than expected.

By grouping the stands by age, the researchers demonstrated that the accelerated growth is a recent phenomenon.
Ecologist Geoffrey Parker, from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre in Edgewater, Maryland, said: ''We made a list of reasons why these forests could be growing faster and then ruled half of them out.''
The best explanation was a response to climate change, he said.
In the past 22 years, carbon dioxide levels where the study was conducted had risen 12 per cent, the average temperature had increased by nearly three tenths of a degree, and the growing season had lengthened by 7.8 days.
The trees had more carbon dioxide to help them obtain energy from the Sun, and an extra week in which to grow, said the researchers.

The findings are reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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