Navigation Links
Nitrogen pollution boosts plant growth in tropics by 20 percent
Date:2/6/2008

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 6, 2008 A study by UC Irvine ecologists finds that excess nitrogen in tropical forests boosts plant growth by an average of 20 percent, countering the belief that such forests would not respond to nitrogen pollution.

Faster plant growth means the tropics will take in more carbon dioxide than previously thought, though long-term climate effects are unclear. Over the next century, nitrogen pollution is expected to steadily rise, with the most dramatic increases in rapidly developing tropical regions such as India, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Nitrogen fertilizer, applied to farmland to improve crop yield, also affects ecosystems downwind by seeping into runoff water and evaporating into the atmosphere. Industrial burning and forest clearing also pumps nitrogen into the air.

We hope our results will improve global change forecasts, said David LeBauer, graduate student researcher of Earth system science at UCI and lead author of the study.

The research results appear in the February issue of the journal Ecology.

Using data from more than 100 previously published studies, LeBauer and Kathleen Treseder, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCI, analyzed global trends in nitrogens effect on growth rates in ecosystems ranging from tropical forests and grasslands to wetlands and tundra. Nitrogen, they found, increased plant growth in all ecosystems except for deserts.

Surprisingly, tropical forests that were seasonally dry, located in mountainous regions or had regrown from slash-and-burn agriculture also responded to added nitrogen. Although these are not the tropical forests that typically come to mind, they collectively account for more than half of the worlds tropical forests.

Scientists believed added nitrogen would have little effect in the tropics because plants there typically have ample nitrogen and are constrained by low levels of phosphorus. If one necessary plant nutrient is in short supply in this case phosphorus plant growth will be poor, even if other nutrients such as nitrogen are abundant. Experiments in the study added nitrogen at the high end of ambient nitrogen pollution to test the maximum potential response.

It is difficult to predict the long-term effects of nitrogen on global climate change. One factor will be the degree to which humans change natural ecosystems, for example by cutting down or burning the tropical forests. Further, climate change may determine whether these areas grow back as forests or if they are replaced by grasslands or deserts. It also is unknown how nitrogen will affect the fate of carbon once plants die and begin to decompose.

What is clear is that we need to consider how nitrogen pollution interacts with carbon dioxide pollution, LeBauer said. Our study is a step toward understanding the far-reaching effects of nitrogen pollution and how it may change our climate.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nitrogen -- the silent species eliminator
2. Study reveals that nitrogen fertilizers deplete soil organic carbon
3. When accounting for the global nitrogen budget, dont forget fish
4. Bad news for coastal ocean: less fish out, means more nitrogen in
5. e-Science points to pollution solutions
6. Groundbreaking Canada-US study proves link between emissions and mercury pollution in fish
7. Groundbreaking Canada-US study proves link between emissions and mercury pollution in fish
8. Nutrient pollution drives frog deformities by ramping up infections, says CU-Boulder study
9. RIT to study air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Great Lakes region
10. Time spent in car drives up air pollution exposure
11. Pollution from marine vessels linked to heart and lung disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... compared with the first quarter of 2015 The gross ... M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... 14, 2016 BioCatch ™, ... today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time ... the deployment of its platform at several of the ... which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... developed by Medistem Panama Inc. at the City of Knowledge in ... tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the US earlier this year following FDA approval ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... delegation at BIO 2016 in San Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives ... to answer questions and discuss the Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have evidence that the variety of ... could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article on ... evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a second kind of drug therapy ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ... engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, developed by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: