the loblolly pine breaks ranks!

Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, predicted to adversely affect the environment and humans, may help one species in time of need: the loblolly pine.

In an experiment where carbon dioxide levels were elevated to those predicted for 2050, one and a half times today’s levels, scientists found that these trees were able to withstand ice storms much better than those growing under current carbon dioxide levels.

“Before the storm, I was absolutely certain the pines would be more susceptible to ice damage under elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide,” said study participant Ram Oren, an ecology professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

“My impressions were absolutely wrong. Instead of increasing the sensitivity to ice-storm damage, carbon dioxide decreased the sensitivity.”

Live Science, 18 Aug 2006