The lowest steady carbon dioxide concentration achievable in a closed system containing a photo-synthesizing plant. When this minimum level is reached, the photosynthetic uptake of carbon dioxide is exactly balanced by its respiratory release, indicating that the rate of synthesis of organic material is equal to the rate of breakdown by respiration. Low compensation points are indicative of photosynthetic efficiency as the plant is then using the maximum amount of available carbon dioxide (see C3 plant
, C4 plant
). Following a period of darkness a plant will take a certain amount of time, termed the compensation period, to reach its compensation point. Shade plants often have shorter compensation periods than sun plants as they can make better use of dim light.