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Fleischer, K., A.J. Dolman, M.K. van der Molen, K.T. Rebel, J.W. Erisman, M.J. Wassen, B. Pak, A. Rammig and Y. Wang. 2019. Nitrogen Deposition Maintains a Positive Effect on Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration in the 21st Century Despite Growing Phosphorus Limitation at Regional Scales. Global Biochemical Cycles. 33(6):810-824.

Number of pages: 15

DOI: 10.1029/2018GB005952

Type of document: Journal Article


Language of document: English

Title in English: Nitrogen Deposition Maintains a Positive Effect on Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration in the 21st Century Despite Growing Phosphorus Limitation at Regional Scales

Abstract / summary in English:

Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are two dominant nutrients regulating the productivity of most terrestrial ecosystems. The growing imbalance of anthropogenic N and P inputs into the future is estimated to exacerbate P limitation on land and limit the land carbon (C) sink, so that we hypothesized that P limitation will increasingly reduce C sequestered per unit N deposited into the future. Using a global land surface model (CABLE), we simulated the effects of increased N deposition with and without P limitation on land C uptake and the fate of deposited N on land from 1901 to 2100. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that N deposition continued to induce land C sequestration into the future, contributing to 15% of future C sequestration as opposed to 6% over the historical period. P limitation reduced the future land C uptake per unit N deposited only moderately at the global scale but P limitation increasingly caused N deposition to have net negative effects on the land C balance in the temperate zone. P limitation further increased the fraction of deposited N that is lost via leaching to aquatic ecosystems, globally from 38.5% over the historical period to 53% into the future, and up to 75% in tropical ecosystems. Our results suggest continued N demand for plant productivity but also indicate growing adverse N deposition effects in the future biosphere, not fully accounted for in global models, emphasizing the urgent need to elaborate on model representations of N and P dynamics.


Keywords in English: Carbon sequestration, land carbon sink, nitrogen deposition, phosphorus limitation, nitrogen fixation, terrestrial ecosystems
Nitrogen Deposition Maintains a Positive Effect on Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration in the 21st Century Despite Growing Phosphorus Limitation at Regional Scales