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I am having a hard time correcting this scientific quote:

Both tree carbon acquisition and tree carbon demand decreased more severely if water deficit directly affected tree growth than if it affected indirectly carbon source.

closed as off-topic by Drew, JHCL, user140086, anongoodnurse, Roaring Fish Oct 31 '15 at 10:43

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Both tree carbon acquisition and tree carbon demand decreased more severely if water deficit directly affected tree growth than if it affected its carbon source.

It's assumed that it's indirect, because the carbon source ≠ the tree.

I don't see anything wrong with "more severely" although "more steeply" might be nicer.

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Severe has a connotation of not just strong but harsh or cruel; so I would not use severely to modify decrease unless I wanted to imply quite strongly that the decrease was undesirable or even unfair.

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