• increased temperature;
  • mineralization;
  • N cycling processes;
  • nitrification;
  • nitrogen fluxes


  • Global warming may have profound effects on terrestrial ecosystems. However, a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of warming on ecosystem nitrogen (N) pools and dynamics is not available.
  • Here, we compiled data of 528 observations from 51 papers and carried out a meta-analysis of experimental warming effects on 13 variables related to terrestrial N pools and dynamics.
  • We found that, on average, net N mineralization and net nitrification rate were increased by 52.2 and 32.2%, respectively, under experimental warming treatment. N pools were also increased by warming, although the magnitude of this increase was less than that of N fluxes. Soil microbial N and N immobilization were not changed by warming, probably because microbes are limited by carbon sources. Grassland and shrubland/heathland were less responsive to warming than forest, probably because the reduction of soil moisture by warming offset the temperature effect in these areas. Soil heating cable and all-day treatment appeared to be the most effective method on N cycling among all treatment methods.
  • Results of this meta-analysis are useful for better understanding the response of N cycling to global warming and the underlying mechanism of warming effects on plants and ecosystem functions.