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:1/26/2017)... CITY , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a ... unveiled a new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste ... solution was introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief ... key meeting point for UN agencies and foreign assistance ... Fraud, waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged ...
(Date:1/23/2017)...  The latest mobile market research from Acuity Market ... The quarterly average price of a biometric smartphone decreased ... 2016.  There are now 120 sub-$150 models on the ... just 28 a year ago at an average price ... Most , Acuity Market Intelligence Principal, "Biometric Smartphones are ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative ... spectrum of clinical research, is proud to announce ... the organization in terms of corporate growth, outside ... and services. The company,s exceptional achievements can be ... iMedNet ™ – MedNet,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... and DJI, the world’s leading maker of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are launching ... officers to use drones effectively, and support educational outreach efforts. , AMA and ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Calif. and GREENWICH, Conn. ... a private investment firm focused on venture growth ... the promotion of Josh Richardson , M.D. ... on investments in biotechnology companies.  He is a ... played important roles in Longitude,s investments in Aimmune ...
(Date:2/16/2017)...   Biostage, Inc. (Nasdaq: BSTG ... bioengineered organ implants to treat cancers and other life-threatening ... the closing on February 15, 2017 of its previously ... and warrants to purchase 20,000,000 shares of common stock, ... was priced at $0.40 per share of common stock, ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 16, 2017 , ... ... cervical case. Dr. Kingsley Chin, professor and Harvard trained surgeon, completed the procedure ... was performed on a 55-year-old practicing female physician suffering from degenerative disc disease ...
Breaking Biology Technology: