Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass

César Terrer, Robert B. Jackson, I.C. Prentice, Trevor F. Keenan, Christina Kaiser, Sara Vicca, Joshua B. Fisher, Peter B. Reich, Benjamin D. Stocker, Bruce A. Hungate, Josep Peñuelas, Ian McCallum, Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Lucas A. Cernusak, Alan F. Talhelm, Kevin Van Sundert, Shilong Piao, Paul C.D. Newton, Mark J. Hovenden, Dana M. Blumenthal & 12 others Yi Y. Liu, Christoph Müller, Klaus Winter, Christopher B. Field, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, Caspar J. Van Lissa, Marcel R. Hoosbeek, Makoto Watanabe, Takayoshi Koike, Victor O. Leshyk, H.W. Polley, Oskar Franklin

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Abstract

Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections of the capacity of plants to take up CO2 7,8. Here, we present a data-driven global quantification of the eCO2 effect on biomass based on 138 eCO2 experiments. The strength of CO2 fertilization is primarily driven by nitrogen (N) in ~65% of global vegetation and by phosphorus (P) in ~25% of global vegetation, with N- or P-limitation modulated by mycorrhizal association. Our approach suggests that CO2 levels expected by 2100 can potentially enhance plant biomass by 12 ± 3% above current values, equivalent to 59 ± 13 PgC. The global-scale response to eCO2 we derive from experiments is similar to past changes in greenness9 and biomass10 with rising CO2, suggesting that CO2 will continue to stimulate plant biomass in the future despite the constraining effect of soil nutrients. Our research reconciles conflicting evidence on CO2 fertilization across scales and provides an empirical estimate of the biomass sensitivity to eCO2 that may help to constrain climate projections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-689
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2019

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phosphorus
nitrogen
experiment
biomass
projection
vegetation
nutrient limitation
quantification
soil nutrient
climate
effect
evidence
Values

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Terrer, C., Jackson, R. B., Prentice, I. C., Keenan, T. F., Kaiser, C., Vicca, S., ... Franklin, O. (2019). Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass. Nature Climate Change, 9, 684-689. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2
Terrer, César ; Jackson, Robert B. ; Prentice, I.C. ; Keenan, Trevor F. ; Kaiser, Christina ; Vicca, Sara ; Fisher, Joshua B. ; Reich, Peter B. ; Stocker, Benjamin D. ; Hungate, Bruce A. ; Peñuelas, Josep ; McCallum, Ian ; Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A. ; Cernusak, Lucas A. ; Talhelm, Alan F. ; Van Sundert, Kevin ; Piao, Shilong ; Newton, Paul C.D. ; Hovenden, Mark J. ; Blumenthal, Dana M. ; Liu, Yi Y. ; Müller, Christoph ; Winter, Klaus ; Field, Christopher B. ; Viechtbauer, Wolfgang ; Van Lissa, Caspar J. ; Hoosbeek, Marcel R. ; Watanabe, Makoto ; Koike, Takayoshi ; Leshyk, Victor O. ; Polley, H.W. ; Franklin, Oskar. / Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass. In: Nature Climate Change. 2019 ; Vol. 9. pp. 684-689.
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title = "Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass",
abstract = "Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections of the capacity of plants to take up CO2 7,8. Here, we present a data-driven global quantification of the eCO2 effect on biomass based on 138 eCO2 experiments. The strength of CO2 fertilization is primarily driven by nitrogen (N) in ~65{\%} of global vegetation and by phosphorus (P) in ~25{\%} of global vegetation, with N- or P-limitation modulated by mycorrhizal association. Our approach suggests that CO2 levels expected by 2100 can potentially enhance plant biomass by 12 ± 3{\%} above current values, equivalent to 59 ± 13 PgC. The global-scale response to eCO2 we derive from experiments is similar to past changes in greenness9 and biomass10 with rising CO2, suggesting that CO2 will continue to stimulate plant biomass in the future despite the constraining effect of soil nutrients. Our research reconciles conflicting evidence on CO2 fertilization across scales and provides an empirical estimate of the biomass sensitivity to eCO2 that may help to constrain climate projections.",
author = "C{\'e}sar Terrer and Jackson, {Robert B.} and I.C. Prentice and Keenan, {Trevor F.} and Christina Kaiser and Sara Vicca and Fisher, {Joshua B.} and Reich, {Peter B.} and Stocker, {Benjamin D.} and Hungate, {Bruce A.} and Josep Pe{\~n}uelas and Ian McCallum and Soudzilovskaia, {Nadejda A.} and Cernusak, {Lucas A.} and Talhelm, {Alan F.} and {Van Sundert}, Kevin and Shilong Piao and Newton, {Paul C.D.} and Hovenden, {Mark J.} and Blumenthal, {Dana M.} and Liu, {Yi Y.} and Christoph M{\"u}ller and Klaus Winter and Field, {Christopher B.} and Wolfgang Viechtbauer and {Van Lissa}, {Caspar J.} and Hoosbeek, {Marcel R.} and Makoto Watanabe and Takayoshi Koike and Leshyk, {Victor O.} and H.W. Polley and Oskar Franklin",
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Terrer, C, Jackson, RB, Prentice, IC, Keenan, TF, Kaiser, C, Vicca, S, Fisher, JB, Reich, PB, Stocker, BD, Hungate, BA, Peñuelas, J, McCallum, I, Soudzilovskaia, NA, Cernusak, LA, Talhelm, AF, Van Sundert, K, Piao, S, Newton, PCD, Hovenden, MJ, Blumenthal, DM, Liu, YY, Müller, C, Winter, K, Field, CB, Viechtbauer, W, Van Lissa, CJ, Hoosbeek, MR, Watanabe, M, Koike, T, Leshyk, VO, Polley, HW & Franklin, O 2019, 'Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass' Nature Climate Change, vol. 9, pp. 684-689. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2

Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass. / Terrer, César; Jackson, Robert B.; Prentice, I.C.; Keenan, Trevor F.; Kaiser, Christina; Vicca, Sara; Fisher, Joshua B.; Reich, Peter B.; Stocker, Benjamin D.; Hungate, Bruce A.; Peñuelas, Josep; McCallum, Ian; Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A.; Cernusak, Lucas A.; Talhelm, Alan F.; Van Sundert, Kevin; Piao, Shilong; Newton, Paul C.D.; Hovenden, Mark J.; Blumenthal, Dana M.; Liu, Yi Y.; Müller, Christoph; Winter, Klaus; Field, Christopher B.; Viechtbauer, Wolfgang; Van Lissa, Caspar J.; Hoosbeek, Marcel R.; Watanabe, Makoto; Koike, Takayoshi; Leshyk, Victor O.; Polley, H.W.; Franklin, Oskar.

In: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 9, 12.08.2019, p. 684-689.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass

AU - Terrer, César

AU - Jackson, Robert B.

AU - Prentice, I.C.

AU - Keenan, Trevor F.

AU - Kaiser, Christina

AU - Vicca, Sara

AU - Fisher, Joshua B.

AU - Reich, Peter B.

AU - Stocker, Benjamin D.

AU - Hungate, Bruce A.

AU - Peñuelas, Josep

AU - McCallum, Ian

AU - Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A.

AU - Cernusak, Lucas A.

AU - Talhelm, Alan F.

AU - Van Sundert, Kevin

AU - Piao, Shilong

AU - Newton, Paul C.D.

AU - Hovenden, Mark J.

AU - Blumenthal, Dana M.

AU - Liu, Yi Y.

AU - Müller, Christoph

AU - Winter, Klaus

AU - Field, Christopher B.

AU - Viechtbauer, Wolfgang

AU - Van Lissa, Caspar J.

AU - Hoosbeek, Marcel R.

AU - Watanabe, Makoto

AU - Koike, Takayoshi

AU - Leshyk, Victor O.

AU - Polley, H.W.

AU - Franklin, Oskar

PY - 2019/8/12

Y1 - 2019/8/12

N2 - Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections of the capacity of plants to take up CO2 7,8. Here, we present a data-driven global quantification of the eCO2 effect on biomass based on 138 eCO2 experiments. The strength of CO2 fertilization is primarily driven by nitrogen (N) in ~65% of global vegetation and by phosphorus (P) in ~25% of global vegetation, with N- or P-limitation modulated by mycorrhizal association. Our approach suggests that CO2 levels expected by 2100 can potentially enhance plant biomass by 12 ± 3% above current values, equivalent to 59 ± 13 PgC. The global-scale response to eCO2 we derive from experiments is similar to past changes in greenness9 and biomass10 with rising CO2, suggesting that CO2 will continue to stimulate plant biomass in the future despite the constraining effect of soil nutrients. Our research reconciles conflicting evidence on CO2 fertilization across scales and provides an empirical estimate of the biomass sensitivity to eCO2 that may help to constrain climate projections.

AB - Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections of the capacity of plants to take up CO2 7,8. Here, we present a data-driven global quantification of the eCO2 effect on biomass based on 138 eCO2 experiments. The strength of CO2 fertilization is primarily driven by nitrogen (N) in ~65% of global vegetation and by phosphorus (P) in ~25% of global vegetation, with N- or P-limitation modulated by mycorrhizal association. Our approach suggests that CO2 levels expected by 2100 can potentially enhance plant biomass by 12 ± 3% above current values, equivalent to 59 ± 13 PgC. The global-scale response to eCO2 we derive from experiments is similar to past changes in greenness9 and biomass10 with rising CO2, suggesting that CO2 will continue to stimulate plant biomass in the future despite the constraining effect of soil nutrients. Our research reconciles conflicting evidence on CO2 fertilization across scales and provides an empirical estimate of the biomass sensitivity to eCO2 that may help to constrain climate projections.

U2 - 10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2

DO - 10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2

M3 - Letter

VL - 9

SP - 684

EP - 689

JO - Nature Climate Change

JF - Nature Climate Change

SN - 1758-678X

ER -

Terrer C, Jackson RB, Prentice IC, Keenan TF, Kaiser C, Vicca S et al. Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass. Nature Climate Change. 2019 Aug 12;9:684-689. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2