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Title: Increases in the flux of carbon belowground stimulate nitrogen uptake and sustain the long-term enhancement of forest productivity under elevated CO2

Author: Drake, John E; Gallet-Budynek, Anne; Hofmockel, Kirsten S; Bernhardt, Emily S; Billings, Sharon A; Jackson, Robert B; Johnsen, Kurt S; et., al.

Date: 2011

Source: Ecology Letters Journal 14(4):349-357

Publication Series: Journal/Magazine Article (JRNL)

Description: The earth’s future climate state is highly dependent upon changes in terrestrial C storage in response to rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Here we show that consistently enhanced rates of net primary production (NPP) are sustained by a C-cascade through the root-microbe-soil system; increases in the flux of C belowground under elevated CO2 stimulated microbial activity, accelerated the rate of soil organic matter decomposition and stimulated tree uptake of N bound to this SOM. This process set into motion a positive feedback maintaining greater C gain under elevated CO2 as a result of increases in canopy N content and higher photosynthetic N-use efficiency. The ecosystem-level consequence of the enhanced requirement for N and the exchange of plant C for N belowground is the dominance of C storage in tree biomass but the preclusion of a large C sink in the soil.

Keywords: Carbon sequestration, coupled biogeochemical cycles, coupled climate-carbon cycle models, elevated CO2, forest productivity, nitrogen

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Drake, John E; Gallet-Budynek, Anne; Hofmockel, Kirsten S; Bernhardt, Emily S; Billings, Sharon A; Jackson, Robert B; Johnsen, Kurt S; et. al. 2011. Increases in the flux of carbon belowground stimulate nitrogen uptake and sustain the long-term enhancement of forest productivity under elevated CO2. Ecology Letters Journal 14(4):349-357.

 


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