The Effect of CO2 Fertilization

This page provides data on a paper that provides estimates of the effect of carbon fertilization on forests in the United States.

Davis, Eric C., B. Sohngen and D.J. Lewis. 2022. The Effect of Carbon Fertilization on Naturally Regenerated and Planted U.S. Forests. Nature Communication, 13, Article number: 5490 (2022)



Over the last half century in the United States, the per-hectare volume of wood in trees has increased, but it is not clear whether this increase has been driven by forest management, forest recovery from past land uses, such as agriculture, or other environmental factors such as elevated carbon dioxide, nitrogen deposition, or climate change. This paper uses empirical analysis to estimate the effect of elevated carbon dioxide on aboveground wood volume in temperate forests of the United States. To accomplish this, we employ matching techniques that allow us to disentangle the effects of elevated carbon dioxide from other environmental factors affecting wood volume and to estimate the effects separately for planted and natural stands. We show that elevated carbon dioxide has had a strong and consistently positive effect on wood volume while other environmental factors yielded a mix of both positive and negative effects. This study, by enabling a better understanding of how elevated carbon dioxide and other anthropogenic factors are influencing forest stocks, can help policymakers and other stakeholders better account for the role of forests in Nationally Determined Contributions and global mitigation pathways to achieve a 1.5 degree Celsius target.


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