Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wild Fact: Evergreens

Even though most trees and shrubs have gone dormant and their leaves have fallen off, evergreens continue to produce oxygen this time of year. Through a complex process called photosynthesis, green plants use water and sunlight to make food as well as convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to life-sustaining oxygen.

Concentrations of CO2 in the air naturally change with the Northern Hemisphere’s seasons -- levels are higher in autumn and winter but lower in spring and summer, when more plants are green and thus able to consume the gas. Equally important but infrequently praised, phytoplankton (microscopic aquatic plants) in the ocean also absorb carbon dioxide and produce half of the earth’s oxygen.

WILD Facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, a wildlife interpretive specialist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division based at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia.

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