Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is predicted to rise above 550 ppm (parts per million) within this century.
The Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) facility enables the exposure of field grown crops to elevated CO2 levels under dryland field conditions. The Free Air CO2 Enrichment technique is used internationally at more than 30 sites, investigating a multitude of ecosystems including cropping systems, pastures, and forests.
AGFACE is a collaborative effort by the partner organisations of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre (PICCC) - the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources Victoria and the University of Melbourne Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. It is also supported by funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, attracting and enlisting collaborators worldwide.
CO2 is the direct substrate of photosynthesis - the process by which green plants fix solar energy and produce biomass. Increasing concentrations stimulate plant growth and the process is often referred to as the "fertilisation effect". To successfully adapt crop production practices and agro-ecosystem management in the face of increasing CO2, plant production must be studied in a range of environments under field conditions.