Growth and yield stimulation under elevated COand drought: A meta-analysis on crops

Casper J. van der Kooi*, Martin Reich, Markus Löw, Luit J. De Kok, Michael Tausz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure of plants to elevated CO(eCO2) has a number of physiological effects, including increased photosynthetic carbon fixation and decreased stomatal conductance, resulting in greater growth and yield and also improved water use efficiency. Therefore, eCOis considered to ameliorate the adverse effects of drought. To test this assumption in existing literature, we undertook a meta-analysis to study the interactive effects of eCOand experimentally imposed drought on biomass and yield of crops and pasture grasses. We found that for crop species with Cmetabolism, eCOstimulates biomass accumulation and yield under both well-watered and dry conditions to a similar extent. For Ccrops, however, stimulation of biomass accumulation and yield by eCOoccurs only under dry growing conditions. Disentangling other functional groups (annuals vs. perennials, crop species, experimental setups) also showed that plant metabolism greatly determines the overall effect of eCOand water availability on plant performance. Our results suggest that crops grown in areas with limited water availability will benefit from future eCO2, regardless of their metabolism. Drought leads to stomatal limitation of photosynthesis in both Cand Ccrops, which is alleviated when the plants are grown under eCO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Biomass
  • C-Cmetabolism
  • Free Air COenrichment
  • Global change
  • Moisture
  • Open top chamber
  • Soil moisture
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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