There is a surprising relationship between the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and flower blooms in tropical forests, a new study has found. According to the study, which was conducted by a team of researchers from Florida State University (FSU), tropical forests have benefited from climate change and the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide by producing more flowers.
The researchers studied the rich tropical forests of Panama’s Barro Colorado Island. They found that climbing rates of carbon dioxide have set the stage for a multidecade increase in overall flower production.
The findings of the study were mentioned in a paper published in the journal Global Change Biology.
The paper suggests that tropical forests, which have evolved over millennia to flourish in warm, equatorial conditions, may be more sensitive to subtle climatic changes than some ecologists predicted.
To reach their findings, the researchers evaluated a record of plant material collected and archived by researchers on the Barro Colorado Island over 28 years. The team then examined how a host of climatic drivers such as temperature, rainfall, light, and carbon dioxide appeared to affect the annual flowering activity and flowering duration of the different species present in the forest.
“Over the past several decades, we’ve seen temperatures warming and carbon dioxide increasing, and our study found that this tropical forest has responded to that increase by producing more flowers,” said Assistant Professor of Geography Stephanie Pau, who led the study.