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Title: CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability

Abstract

Stimulation of terrestrial productivity by rising CO2 concentration is projected to reduce the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions; coupled climate-carbon (C) cycle models, including those used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), are sensitive to this negative feedback on atmospheric CO2 1. The representation of the so-called CO2 fertilization effect in the 11 models used in AR4 and subsequent models2,3 was broadly consistent with experimental evidence from four free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments, which indicated that net primary productivity (NPP) of forests was increased by 23 ± 2% in response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment to 550 ppm4. Substantial uncertainty remains, however, because of the expectation that feedbacks through the nitrogen (N) cycle will reduce the CO2 stimulation of NPP5,6; these feedbacks were not included in the AR4 models and heretofore have not been confirmed by experiments in forests7. Here, we provide new evidence from a FACE experiment in a deciduous Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum) forest stand in Tennessee, USA, that N limitation has significantly reduced the stimulation of NPP by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (eCO2). Isotopic evidence and N budget analysis support the premise that N availability in this forest ecosystem has been declining over time, and declining fastermore » in eCO2. Model analyses and evidence from leaf- and stand-level observations provide mechanistic evidence that declining N availability constrained the tree response to eCO2. These results provide a strong rationale and process understanding for incorporating N limitation and N feedback effects in ecosystem and global models used in climate change assessments.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. ORNL
  2. Macquarie University, Australia
  3. University of New South Wales, Australia
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
992516
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nature
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 107; Journal Issue: 45
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; AVAILABILITY; CARBON DIOXIDE; CLIMATES; ECOSYSTEMS; FEEDBACK; FERTILIZATION; FORESTS; NITROGEN; PRODUCTIVITY; STIMULATION; TENNESSEE; TREES

Citation Formats

Norby, Richard J., Warren, Jeffrey, Iversen, Colleen M., Medlyn, Belinda, and McMurtrie, Ross. CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability. United States: N. p., 2010. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1006463107.
Norby, Richard J., Warren, Jeffrey, Iversen, Colleen M., Medlyn, Belinda, & McMurtrie, Ross. CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1006463107.
Norby, Richard J., Warren, Jeffrey, Iversen, Colleen M., Medlyn, Belinda, and McMurtrie, Ross. Mon . "CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1006463107.
@article{osti_992516,
title = {CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability},
author = {Norby, Richard J. and Warren, Jeffrey and Iversen, Colleen M. and Medlyn, Belinda and McMurtrie, Ross},
abstractNote = {Stimulation of terrestrial productivity by rising CO2 concentration is projected to reduce the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions; coupled climate-carbon (C) cycle models, including those used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), are sensitive to this negative feedback on atmospheric CO2 1. The representation of the so-called CO2 fertilization effect in the 11 models used in AR4 and subsequent models2,3 was broadly consistent with experimental evidence from four free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments, which indicated that net primary productivity (NPP) of forests was increased by 23 ± 2% in response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment to 550 ppm4. Substantial uncertainty remains, however, because of the expectation that feedbacks through the nitrogen (N) cycle will reduce the CO2 stimulation of NPP5,6; these feedbacks were not included in the AR4 models and heretofore have not been confirmed by experiments in forests7. Here, we provide new evidence from a FACE experiment in a deciduous Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum) forest stand in Tennessee, USA, that N limitation has significantly reduced the stimulation of NPP by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (eCO2). Isotopic evidence and N budget analysis support the premise that N availability in this forest ecosystem has been declining over time, and declining faster in eCO2. Model analyses and evidence from leaf- and stand-level observations provide mechanistic evidence that declining N availability constrained the tree response to eCO2. These results provide a strong rationale and process understanding for incorporating N limitation and N feedback effects in ecosystem and global models used in climate change assessments.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1006463107},
journal = {Nature},
number = 45,
volume = 107,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {11}
}

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