Forests for the future

SIEF is supporting Forests for the future: making the most of a high CO2 world.

A forest of tall trees.

Identifying tree species with strong, positive
growth responses to elevated CO2

The challenge

For the past ten thousand years, atmospheric CO2 has been relatively stable, but over the past 150 years CO2 has risen 40% from this long-term value, and is projected to be at least double this historical value by the end of this century. While the rise in atmospheric CO2 presents a global challenge, it also offers opportunities to increase forest production and bio-sequestration. One consequence of this rapid rise in CO2 is that photosynthesis has been increased, generating increased carbon gain and plant production on a global scale.

The response

To develop a novel strategy that rapidly identifies tree species that exhibit a strong, positive
growth response to elevated CO2, and the genetic attributes underlying these responses.
This will be the first comprehensive attempt to link genomic and phenomic approaches to large-scale assessment of plant
responses to elevated CO2.

The collaboration

The Forests for the Future Project is a strong collaboration between The
Australian National University, University of Western Sydney and CSIRO which
will place Australia in the forefront of climate-change related biological science spanning from laboratory to greenhouse to

Projected impact

The outcomes of this project result in impact in a number of areas:

  • Widespread application of the Project’s products by end-users will greatly improve capacity to identify
    genotypes that are responsive to elevated CO2 in all plants, including trees and crops. This will lead to better
    choices to achieve greater economic output from the forest industry.
  • Development of less expensive and less labour-intensive procedures will add to the economic benefits of this
    technology, and increased commercial application
  • Environmental impact includes an increase in plantation forests that grow well despite the effects of rising CO2
    levels including higher temperatures, physiological responses and changes in water and carbon use, thus aiding
    in sequestration of CO2 and increase in greening of Australia.

Download: Forests for the Future brochure [pdf · 109kb]