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

s. 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.


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

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