C-N-P interactions control climate driven changes in regional patterns of C storage on the North Slope of Alaska Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/zw12z691n

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  • Context: As climate warms, changes in the carbon (C) balance of arctic tundra will play an important role in the global C balance. The C balance of tundra is tightly coupled to the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycles because soil organic matter is the principal source of plant-available nutrients and determines the spatial variation of vegetation biomass across the North Slope of Alaska. Warming will accelerate these nutrient cycles, which should stimulate plant growth. Objectives and methods: We applied the multiple element limitation model to investigate the spatial distribution of soil organic matter and vegetation on the North Slope of Alaska and examine the effects of changes in N and P cycles on tundra C budgets under climate warming. Results: The spatial variation of vegetation biomass on the North Slope is mainly determined by nutrient mineralization, rather than air temperature. Our simulations show substantial increases in N and P mineralization with climate warming and consequent increases in nutrient availability to plants. There are distinctly different changes in N versus P cycles in response to warming. N is lost from the region because the warming-induced increase in N mineralization is in excess of plant uptake. However, P is more tightly cycled than N and the small loss of P under warming can be compensated by entrainment of recently weathered P into the ecosystem cycle. The increase in nutrient availability results in larger C gains in vegetation than C losses from soils and hence a net accumulation of C in the ecosystems. Conclusions: The ongoing climate warming in Arctic enhances mineralization and leads to a net transfer of nutrient from soil organic matter to vegetation, thereby stimulating tundra plant growth and increased C sequestration in the tundra ecosystems. The C balance of the region is predominantly controlled by the internal nutrient cycles, and the external nutrient supply only exerts a minor effect on C budget.
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  • Jiang, Y., Rocha, A. V., Rastetter, E. B., Shaver, G. R., Mishra, U., Zhuang, Q., & Kwiatkowski, B. L. (2016). C–N–P interactions control climate driven changes in regional patterns of C storage on the North Slope of Alaska. Landscape Ecology, 31(1), 195-213. doi:10.1007/s10980-015-0266-5
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