Impacts of Climate Change and CO2 on Prairie and Forest Production

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
University of Minnesota
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2011
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 03p
Appropriation Language

$330,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to accelerate research simulating future changing CO2, rainfall, and temperature level impacts on biomass production, carbon sequestration, and water quality in prairie and tree species. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
Funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) were used to help establish, maintain, and expand studies regarding impacts of elevated carbon dioxide and changing climate on productivity (i.e. carbon acquisition) and carbon sequestration of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Two new state-of-the-art open air experiments were begun. A new biofuel-oriented experiment was installed in 72 elevated CO2 plots within the ongoing BioCON (Biodiversity, CO2, and Nitrogen) experiment - an effort started in 1997 that is examining how plant communities respond to environmental changes in biodiversity, CO2, and Nitrogen; these plots were planted with potentially "high-yielding" woody and herbaceous perennials. A Boreal Forest Warming experiment in Cloquet and Ely was installed, planted and warming treatments implemented in 2009 and 2010. ENTRF funds were also used to support specific carbon cycling measures in the original, ongoing BioCON experiment. The following findings were documented:

  1. In all studies, results showed that acquisition of new carbon is likely in a world with higher CO2 levels and/or with modest warming, but is significantly dampened during periods of low water availability or when soil nutrients are limiting.
  2. Long-term sequestration in soil of acquired carbon is likely modest due to the rapid return (through respiration of roots and decomposers) of new carbon to the atmosphere.
  3. Soil carbon storage is likely dependent upon soil characteristics however, with sandy soils in our experiments less able to build up carbon stores than finer-textured soils might be.
  4. Results suggest considerable potential to grow biomass carbon that could potentially contribute to biofuel offsetting of fossil fuel use and to carbon sequestration in live biomass, dead biomass, and potentially in soils.

Project Results Use and Dissemination Several publications are in preparation. These include experiment-specific papers (about individual experiments), cross-experiment papers for several related experiments at the Cedar Creek station, and meta-analyses and synthesis papers for which data from this ENRTF project have been combined with similar data from other experiments in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Project Details