Global pattern and drivers of nitrogen saturation threshold of grassland productivity

作  者:Peng YF, Chen HYH, Yang YH*
刊物名称:Functional Ecology
卷:  期:  页码:DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13622


  1. Ecosystem productivity usually exhibits first increase and then saturated response to increasing nitrogen (N) additions, yet the broadscale pattern and potential drivers of the N saturation threshold are little investigated.
  2. By synthesizing N addition experiments with at least four Ninput levels from the global grasslands, we applied the quadraticplusplateau model to fit the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP)–N rate relationship, and estimated the saturation threshold for N rate (critical N rate, NCR) and ANPP (maximum ANPP, ANPPmax) from the inflection point where ANPP no longer statistically increased with N rate for individual experiments. Based on these estimations, we investigated the spatial pattern and driving factors of NCR and ANPPmax.
  3. The mean NCR and ANPPmax were 15.0 and 477.0 g m-2 year-1, respectively, but varied substantially among singlesite experiments. Management strategies (e.g. biomass harvest, different N forms and addition frequencies) minimally influenced both parameters. Structural equation models demonstrated that the spatial differences in NCR and ANPPmax were mainly explained by aridity index, and soil carbon (C)/N ratio also predicted the variation in NCR.
  4. Given that grasslands are important not only for the trend and variability of the land C sink but also for the maintenance of pasture yield, the pattern and controls of NCR and ANPPmax, as revealed by the current study, are crucial for constructing robust predictions of C sink capacity and improving N fertilizer management in grasslands.