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:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes ... the heels of the deployment of its platform at ... behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical ... mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma ... in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- A person commits a crime, and the detective uses ... criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes ... uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused ... not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology ... Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: