A new study has found that forests of genetically altered flora can help reduce global warming in a big way.
The study outlined a variety of strategies for augmenting the processes that plants use to sequester carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into long-lived forms of carbon, first in vegetation and ultimately in soil.
Other possibilities include altering plants so that they can better withstand the stresses of growing on marginal land, and so that they yield improved bioenergy and food crops.
Such innovations might, in combination, boost substantially the amount of carbon that vegetation naturally extracts from air, according to the authors' estimates.
The researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory stress that the use of genetically engineered plants for carbon sequestration is only one of many policy initiatives and technical tools that might boost the carbon sequestration already occurring in natural vegetation and crops.
The study is published in the October issue of BioScience.