Articles | Volume 14, issue 4
Peer-reviewed comment
17 Feb 2017
Peer-reviewed comment |  | 17 Feb 2017

Nitrogen mineralization, not N2 fixation, alleviates progressive nitrogen limitation – Comment on “Processes regulating progressive nitrogen limitation under elevated carbon dioxide: a meta-analysis” by Liang et al. (2016)

Tobias Rütting

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Cited articles

Batterman, S. A., Hedin, L. O., van Breugel, M., Ransijn, J., Craven, D. J., and Hall, J. S.: Key role of symbiotic dinitrogen fixation in tropical forest secondary succession, Nature, 502, 224–227, 2013.
Brookshire, E. N. J., Gerber, S., Menge, D. N. L., and Hedin, L. O.: Large losses of inorganic nitrogen from tropical rainforests suggest a lack of nitrogen limitation, Ecol. Lett., 15, 9–16, 2012.
Cleveland, C. C., Townsend, A. R., Schimel, D. S., Fisher, H., Howarth, R. W., Hedin, L. O., Perakis, S. S., Latty, E. F., von Fischer, J. C., Elserod, A., and Wasson, M. F.: Global patterns of terrestrial biological nitrogen (N2) fixation in natural ecosystems, Global Biogeochem. Cy., 13, 623–645, 1999.
Davidson, E. A., Hart, S. C., and Firestone, M. K.: Internal cycling of nitrate in soils of a mature coniferous forest, Ecology, 73, 1148–1156, 1992.
Dijkstra, F. A., Carrillo, Y., Pendall, E., and Morgan, J. A.: Rhizosphere priming: a nutrient perspective, Frontiers in Microbiology, 4, articel 216,, 2013.
Short summary
The response of ecosystems to elevated atmospheric CO2 is affected by nitrogen (N) availability. It has been hypothesized that N limitation becomes progressively stronger (progressive N limitation, PNL). Most long-term free air CO2 enrichment studies did not see a PNL. This paper shows that enhanced biological N2 fixation only prevents PNL in plant communities with symbiotic N2 fixation. In most ecosystems a stimulation of gross N mineralization prevents the development of a PNL.
Final-revised paper