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Climate change- A recent study finds a new effect on leaves shedding

Researchers found that trees are shedding their leaves earlier as the globe’s heat rises. Thereby reversing the past beliefs that rising weather is prolonging the growing seasons and plant fertility.

What is the Climate impact of global warming

A common notion was that the warmer temperature boosts carbon dioxide capture by plants, which increases photosynthesis and allows the leaves to persist until late in autumn. Scientists previously believed that global warming would stimulate the deciduous trees to lose their leaves 2-3 weeks later than usual.

But the recent discovery reverses the past assumptions.  

A new theory on climate impact

The current study conducted by a team of Ecosystem ecologists has some interesting findings. Constantin Zohner revealed that enhanced plant productivity during the growing seasons resulted from elevated carbon dioxide, temperature, and light cause earlier leaf senescence.

Zohner’s team concluded the study after conducting experiments on six European deciduous tree species, including English oak, silver birch, European larch, European horse chestnut, European beech, and rowan. After harvesting the information, they related the data with that collected in the last six decades.

According to Constantin Zohner, this mechanism is like a human who starts eating earlier and gets full first. He said his study contradicts the previous models, which suggest that the temperature will get warmer. Autumns will be delayed, and growing seasons will be longer.

Perhaps, rising carbon dioxide levels allow the plants to capture more. Still, we can not expect them to process more and more carbon dioxide just because we are producing more. In simpler words, plants’ wood and roots stop storing carbon dioxide after a specific value, hindering the further uptake, resulting in earlier senescence.

What is Senescence

Senescence is a phenomenon in which the leaves of deciduous plants(which shed leaves in fall) turn yellow, orange, red. Then they fall off as they have lost their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Zohner said that the warming climate would cause the leaves to shed three to six days earlier by the end of this century.


Though the study involved the trees from central Europe, it raised serious concerns targeting the forests worldwide. Forests that act as sinks to absorb the excess carbon dioxide became the new global warming victims, a significant threat to the world in the 21st century.

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