Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2020

The Effects of Smoke and Ash on Plants

The UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden an article on the effects of smoke and ash on plants by Dr. Lew Feldman, Garden Director

While there are much data pointing to the beneficial effects of fires on plants, especially in regard to acting as an environmental cue for seed germination and in seed dispersal, in general, as for humans, smoke and ash are detrimental to plants. Chemically, more than 100 different compounds have been identified in smoke, including toxic levels of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone. Short-term exposure to smoke (as little as 20 minutes) has been reported to reduce photosynthesis by as much as 50%, as a consequence of both the destruction of chlorophyll, the light-capturing green pigment, and in impeding the movement of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the plant through leaf pores (stomata).

Read full article at I’m Glad You Asked: The Effects of Smoke and Ash on Plants – UC Botanical Garden


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