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Eucalyptus trees hindered by soil microbes in elevated CO2 environments

Researchers at Western Sydney University have released a groundbreaking study finding that elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, which are expected to boost plant growth, may actually limit extra tree growth in elevated CO2 due to nutrient limitations, specifically phosphorus, held up through soil microbes.

Published today in the esteemed journal Nature, the research suggests that microbes play an important role in making a key nutrient – phosphorus bound to the soil – available to both plants and microbes.

Trees then need to compete with soil microbes for this available amount of nutrients and are losing the battle, ultimately impeding the extra growth potential of trees in CO2-enriched environments.

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