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Climatic modifiers of the response to nitrogen deposition in peat-forming Sphagnum mosses: a meta-analysis

Limpens, J; Granath, G.; Gunnarsson, U.; Aerts, R.; Bayley, S.; Bragazza, L.; Bubier, J.; Buttler, A.; van den Berg, L.J.L.; Francez, A.-J.; Gerdol, R.; Grosvernier, P.; Heijmans, M.M.P.D.; Hoosbeek, M.R.; Hotes, S.; Ilomets, M.; Leith, I.; Mitchell, E.A.D.; Moore, T.; Nilsson, M.B.; Nordbakken, J.-F.; Rochefort, L.; Rydin, H.; Sheppard, L.J.; Thormann, M.; Wiedermann, M.M.; Williams, B.L.; Xu, B.. 2011 Climatic modifiers of the response to nitrogen deposition in peat-forming Sphagnum mosses: a meta-analysis. New Phytologist, 191 (2). 496-507. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03680.x

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Abstract/Summary

Peatlands in the northern hemisphere have accumulated more atmospheric carbon (C) during the Holocene than any other terrestrial ecosystem, making peatlands long-term C sinks of global importance. Projected increases in nitrogen (N) deposition and temperature make future accumulation rates uncertain.•Here, we assessed the impact of N deposition on peatland C sequestration potential by investigating the effects of experimental N addition on Sphagnum moss. We employed meta-regressions to the results of 107 field experiments, accounting for sampling dependence in the data.•We found that high N loading (comprising N application rate, experiment duration, background N deposition) depressed Sphagnum production relative to untreated controls. The interactive effects of presence of competitive vascular plants and high tissue N concentrations indicated intensified biotic interactions and altered nutrient stochiometry as mechanisms underlying the detrimental N effects. Importantly, a higher summer temperature (mean for July) and increasedannual precipitation intensified the negative effects of N. The temperature effect was comparable to an experimental application of almost 4 g N m−2 yr−1 for each 1°C increase.•Our results indicate that current rates of N deposition in a warmer environment will strongly inhibit C sequestration by Sphagnum-dominated vegetation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03680.x
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Biogeochemistry
CEH Sections: Billett (to 30 Nov 2013)
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Keywords: carbon, climate, global change, meta-regression, nitrogen, peatlands, productivity, Sphagnum
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 20 Dec 2011 15:06
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/16180

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