What is it about?

Tropical forests are playing an important role in ameliorating global climate change. With the globalization of N deposition, however, we lack data about changes in soil C stocks in tropical forests, where most ecosystems are N-rich or N-saturated, leading to a large uncertainty on quantifying ecosystem C sequestration, Using more than a decade of continuous N addition experiment and a meta-analysis, we found that excess N deposition can significantly increase soil C in N-rich tropical forests.

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Why is it important?

These findings provide new empirical evidence that below-ground C sequestration can be stimulated in mature tropical forests under excess N deposition, which has important implications for predicting future terrestrial sinks for both elevated anthropogenic CO2 and N deposition.

Perspectives

(1) Soil C Sequestration Hypothesis: Soil C sequestration has been happening with elevated N deposition at global scale, but the mechanisms are different between N-limited and N-rich ecosystems. (2) Soil C sink should be reconsidered in the undisturbed tropical forests, because organic matter absorbed to reactive soil minerals is an important mechanism for long-term C storage (3) The datasets provide useful information for biogeochemical theory and modeling to improve the predictability on C sink strength.

Xiankai Lu
South China Botanical Garden,Chinese Academy of Sciences

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This page is a summary of: Nitrogen deposition accelerates soil carbon sequestration in tropical forests, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020790118.
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