Global response patterns of terrestrial plant species to nitrogen addition

Authors

  • Jianyang Xia,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
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  • Shiqiang Wan

    1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
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Author for correspondence:
Shiqiang Wan
Tel:+86 10 6283 6512
Fax:+86 10 8259 6146
Email: swan@ibcas.ac.cn

Summary

  • • Better understanding of the responses of terrestrial plant species under global nitrogen (N) enrichment is critical for projection of changes in structure, functioning, and service of terrestrial ecosystems.
  • • Here, a meta-analysis of data from 304 studies was carried out to reveal the general response patterns of terrestrial plant species to the addition of N.
  • • Across 456 terrestrial plant species included in the analysis, biomass and N concentration were increased by 53.6 and 28.5%, respectively, under N enrichment. However, the N responses were dependent upon plant functional types, with significantly greater biomass increases in herbaceous than in woody species. Stimulation of plant biomass by the addition of N was enhanced when other resources were improved. In addition, the N responses of terrestrial plants decreased with increasing latitude and increased with annual precipitation.
  • • Dependence of the N responses of terrestrial plants on biological realms, functional types, tissues, other resources, and climatic factors revealed in this study can help to explain changes in species composition, diversity, community structure and ecosystem functioning under global N enrichment. These findings are critical in improving model simulation and projection of terrestrial carbon sequestration and its feedbacks to global climate change, especially when progressive N limitation is taken into consideration.

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