Researchers have found that the availability of nitrogen in a nitrogen -rich world decreases


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Since the mid -20th century, research and discussion has focused on the negative effects of high levels of nitrogen on ecosystems and water. However, recent data shows that the world is seeing a second pathway to nitrogen availability with many areas seeing a decline in hockey-stick production as the availability of nitrogen. nitrogen. In a recent review paper in the journal Sciencethe researchers explained the reasons for these declines and the effects on ecosystems.

“There is too much nitrogen and too little nitrogen on Earth at the same time,” said Rachel Mason, lead author on the paper and former postdoctoral student at the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center.

In the past century, people have more than doubled their intake of reactive nitrogen through industrial and agricultural activities. This nitrogen is absorbed into rivers, inland lakes, and coastal bodies of water, sometimes resulting in eutrophication, low-oxygen death sites, and harmful algae blooms. These negative effects of too much nitrogen have led scientists to study nitrogen as a pollutant. However, rising carbon dioxide and other global changes have increased the demand for nitrogen by plants and microbes. In many parts of the world that do not receive enough nitrogen from humans, long history shows that nitrogen availability is declining, with serious consequences for plant growth. and animals.

Nitrogen is important in proteins and is therefore important for the growth of plants and animals that eat them. Gardens, forests, and fisheries are better off when fertilized with plenty of nitrogen. If a plant has a low nitrogen supply, the plants grow slowly and their leaves do not feed on inches, it can reduce growth and reproduction, not only to insects, but also to insects. birds and bats eat them.

“When nitrogen is not available, all living things hold on to the element for a long time, delaying the flow of nitrogen from one living thing to another through the food chain. That’s why it happens. to us to say the nitrogen cycle is slowing down, ”Andrew said. Elmore, senior author on the paper and professor of ecology at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and at the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center.

A multi-institutional research group has found that nitrogen availability is declining in a high-income world

Changes in the nitrogen cycle can be seen by looking at ecological nitrogen inputs, soil cycling, plant nitrogen levels and nitrogen depletion. Photo: Rachel Mason

Researchers looked at long -term, global and national studies and found evidence of declining nitrogen availability. For example, grasslands in central North America have had less nitrogen availability for a hundred years, and cattle feeding in these areas have less protein than cattle feeding in these areas. their food at the time. Today, many forests in North America and Europe are experiencing a decline in food supply for several years or so.

These reductions may be due to environmental changes, such as the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide of the atmosphere has reached its highest level in millions of years, and terrestrial plants have been known to account for about 50% more of this resource than 150 years ago. High carbon dioxide stimulates plants, allows for faster growth, but dissolves plant nitrogen in the process, leading to a cascade of effects that reduce nitrogen availability. . On top of the increase in carbon dioxide, heating and turbulence, including wildfires, can reduce the availability of time.

Decreased nitrogen availability is hindering the ability of plants to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Nowadays, biomass plants around the world are recorded according to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and biomass carbon stocks increase every year as the carbon level rises. However, declining nitrogen availability would affect the growth of plant carbon by setting limits on plant growth. Therefore, it is important to consider the air conversion methods that attempt to select the carbon stored in the biomass, as well as the weather conditions, it is necessary to calculate the nitrogen availability.

“Significant signs of declining nitrogen availability in many areas and environments are a major factor in rapidly reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” Elmore said. “New navigation solutions that could increase nitrogen availability over large areas may be controversial, but clearly there is an important area to learn.”

Currently, the review paper states that the data should be summarized in a state-of-the-nitrogen-cycle annual report, or a global map of changes in nitrogen availability, to presenting a comprehensive resource for scientists, administrators, and policymakers. – tools.

“Evidence, Causes, and Consequences of Delining Nitrogen Availability in Terrestrial Ecosystems” was published. Science.

The study found that plants need less nitrogen when the climate is warmer.

More information:
Rachel E. Mason et al, Evidence, Causes, and Effects of Decreased Nitrogen Availability in Terrestrial Ecosystems, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / science.abh3767.

Presented by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Directions: Researchers Find Decreased Nitrogen Consumption in a Nitrogen -Rich World (2022, April 14) Retrieved 15 April 2022 from -04-declining-nitrogen-availability-rich-world.html

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