Responses of ecosystem nitrogen cycle to nitrogen addition: a meta-analysis
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- •Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) addition may substantially alter the terrestrial N cycle. However, a comprehensive understanding of how the ecosystem N cycle responds to external N input remains elusive.
- •Here, we evaluated the central tendencies of the responses of 15 variables associated with the ecosystem N cycle to N addition, using data extracted from 206 peer-reviewed papers.
- •Our results showed that the largest changes in the ecosystem N cycle caused by N addition were increases in soil inorganic N leaching (461%), soil NO3− concentration (429%), nitrification (154%), nitrous oxide emission (134%), and denitrification (84%). N addition also substantially increased soil NH4+ concentration (47%), and the N content in belowground (53%) and aboveground (44%) plant pools, leaves (24%), litter (24%) and dissolved organic N (21%). Total N content in the organic horizon (6.1%) and mineral soil (6.2%) slightly increased in response to N addition. However, N addition induced a decrease in microbial biomass N by 5.8%.
- •The increases in N effluxes caused by N addition were much greater than those in plant and soil pools except soil NO3−, suggesting a leaky terrestrial N system.