Global forest carbon uptake due to nitrogen and phosphorus deposition from 1850 to 2100

Rong Wang, Daniel Goll, Yves Balkanski, Didier Hauglustaine, Olivier Boucher, Philippe Ciais, Ivan Janssens, Josep Penuelas, Bertrand Guenet, Jordi Sardans, Laurent Bopp, Nicolas Vuichard, Feng Zhou, Bengang Li, Shilong Piao, Shushi Peng, Ye Huang, Shu Tao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    100 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Spatial patterns and temporal trends of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) deposition are important for quantifying their impact on forest carbon (C) uptake. In a first step, we modeled historical and future change in the global distributions of the atmospheric deposition of N and P from the dry and wet deposition of aerosols and gases containing N and P. Future projections were compared between two scenarios with contrasting aerosol emissions. Modeled fields of N and P deposition and P concentration were evaluated using globally distributed in situ measurements. N deposition peaked around 1990 in European forests and around 2010 in East Asian forests, and both increased sevenfold relative to 1850. P deposition peaked around 2010 in South Asian forests and increased 3.5-fold relative to 1850. In a second step, we estimated the change in C storage in forests due to the fertilization by deposited N and P (∆C ν dep ), based on the retention of deposited nutrients, their allocation within plants, and C:N and C:P stoichiometry. ∆C ν dep for 1997–2013 was estimated to be 0.27 ± 0.13 Pg C year −1 from N and 0.054 ± 0.10 Pg C year −1 from P, contributing 9% and 2% of the terrestrial C sink, respectively. Sensitivity tests show that uncertainty of ∆C ν dep was larger from P than from N, mainly due to uncertainty in the fraction of deposited P that is fixed by soil. ∆C Pdep was exceeded by ∆C Ndep over 1960–2007 in a large area of East Asian and West European forests due to a faster growth in N deposition than P. Our results suggest a significant contribution of anthropogenic P deposition to C storage, and additional sources of N are needed to support C storage by P in some Asian tropical forests where the deposition rate increased even faster for P than for N.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4854-4872
    JournalGlobal Change Biology
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


    • aerosol
    • forest carbon sink
    • nitrogen deposition
    • nutrient limitation
    • nutrient retention
    • phosphorus deposition
    • stoichiometry


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