[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]
As the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration continues to rise, most plants tend to exhibit increased rates of photosynthesis and biomass production, including those of various grassland ecosystems. This increase in productivity should increase the amount of forage available for grazing animals and possibly reduce the land area occupied by bare soil in certain environments. However, some people claim that global warming will negate the growth-promoting effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment and actually stimulate the opposite process of desertification. This summary thus seeks to develop an answer to this important question by reviewing published scientific studies of the photosynthetic and growth responses of grassland plants to atmospheric CO2 enrichment when exposed to higher-than-normal temperatures.