Crops With Deeper Roots Could Boost CO2 Storage, Study Says

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Breeding crops with deeper roots could significantly reduce atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and make crops more drought resistant, according to a study by a researcher at the University of Manchester.

Reporting in the journal, Annals of Botany, professor Douglas Kell calculated that breeding crops whose roots extend 2 meters underground, rather than the 1-meter roots common to many crops, could double the amount of carbon captured from the atmosphere.

Kell reported that creating crops and plants with deeper and bushier roots would also lead to more water and nutrient retention and produce more sustainable plant yields as the world warms and droughts increase in water-stressed regions.

“This doubling of root biomass from a nominal 1 meter to 2 meters is really the key issue,” said Kell.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.