SAO PAULO — Will global warming provide a solution to one of the problems it creates? To find an answer to this intriguing question, a team of scientists started taking measurements last week for what may be the most ambitious experiment the Amazon forest has seen in some 20 years. Ecologists are hoping the project, called Amazon FACE (Free-Air CO2 Enrichment), can tell them whether the forest will survive the drought that global warming is expected to cause.
Led by the Sao Paulo State University and bringing together more than 14 research centers, the experiment consists of permanently bombarding small parts of the forest with CO2. Some believe that higher concentration levels of carbon dioxide can boost photosynthesis, which would compensate for the forest's growth deficit, and even its feared death in case of drought.