Free Air Carbon Enhancement

Free Air Carbon Enhancement

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have been rising for the past 150 years, and is expected to continue, possibly with dramatic consequences for earth's climate. A group of international and Panamanian organizations have initiated a long-term project designed to help understand the potential biological consequences, in a tropical setting, of elevated CO2 and, by inference, of climate change. STRI is coordinating this project with the participation of the Brookhaven U. S. National Laboratory, McGill University, the University of Paris-Orsay, the University of Georgia, the Universidad de Panama, and the Universidad Santa María La Antigua. The project is set in a grassland area near Sardinilla, in Central Panama.

One long-term goal of the FACE project is to understand the complex links between current changes in atmospheric concentration of CO2 and land-use in the tropics. Plants take in CO2 from free air and use the carbon to build cells. In the next ten years in situ experiments will be carried out to (i) determine whether trees increase up-take of carbon under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration; and (ii) assess the impact of elevated CO2 changes in land-use from grazed pasture to tropical tree plantations.