Adjustment of the Earth’s climate

Vegetation strongly affects the Earth’s climate and the composition of the atmosphere through the photosynthesis activity. Through this process, plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, trap carbon (C) to build organic molecules and release oxygen (O). Due to the extension of vegetation on Earth, the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide that get into this process are huge: every year, the plants’ photosynthesis releases approximately 70 billion tons of oxygen and consumes an equally huge amount of carbon dioxide.
Through the photosynthesis, plants counteract the many oxidation processes (for instance, combustion for the production of energy, as is in all the bodies of the living beings, or combustion in industrial processes and car engines), that, using the oxygen contained in the air and giving back carbon dioxide, cause the concentration of the former in the atmosphere to decrease and that of the latter to increase.
In this way, plants play an essential role for life on Earth: stabilising the gas composition of the atmosphere.
In addition, the stabilisation of the composition remarkably affects the atmospheric temperature and humidity; this subject will be dealt in more detail in the Section on “AIR”.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation in the Amazon

    Look

    ecosystems

    Forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Medicines from the forest

    Look
  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

    Look

    ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

    Look

    life

    Photosynthesis in action

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation in the Amazon

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Medicines from the forest

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

    Look

Facts

  • 16 May 2011

    A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built...

    23 February 2012

    CO2 “eating” trees

    If a tree “eats” CO2 and produces oxygen it is easy to understand the importance it has in reducing the…

  • 16 May 2011

    Energy from palm trees

    Oils that are obtained from palm trees can be used as alternatives to fossil fuels and their use is about…

    17 May 2011

    Resin from tree bark

    Resin naturally forms underneath the bark of ...

  • 3 April 2012

    The biggest tree

    The tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion...

    13 May 2011

    The Christmas tree tradition

    People tell that in Germany, at Christmas Eve, Saint Boniface cut an oak and in that place...

  • 16 May 2011

    A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built...

  • 23 February 2012

    CO2 “eating” trees

    If a tree “eats” CO2 and produces oxygen it is easy to understand the importance it has in reducing the…

  • 16 May 2011

    Energy from palm trees

    Oils that are obtained from palm trees can be used as alternatives to fossil fuels and their use is about…