News Release

How will phosphorus cycle influence carbon uptake in china?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Applying mineral fertilizer to the planting holes of Chinese rose seeds in early spring.

video: As a nutrient, phosphorus can affect plant growth. The availability of phosphorus, in turn, can have a significant impact on the carbon and nitrogen cycle. view more 

Credit: Jiang Zhu

Researchers led by Dr. Jing Peng from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the effects of phosphorus limitation on carbon sequestration in China. 

The study was published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on Feb. 28. 

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth and a significant focus of global biochemical research. The real natural world is not unlimited in terms of nutrient availability, by which most ecosystems are affected. 

Thus, it is important to understand the role of phosphorus cycling in the carbon balance. Under high-emission scenarios (SSP5-8.5), the researchers found that when considering the influence of phosphorus limitation, global carbon sink strength of the globe and China will decrease by 7% and 15%, respectively, by the 2030s. By the 2060s, these reductions will further decrease by 8% and 16%, respectively. 

More efficient soil decomposition can be better for mitigating future phosphorus restrictions. Further analysis revealed that the more significant impact of phosphorus limitation on China is related to the positive feedback between net primary productivity and the rate of soil decomposition. 

This positive feedback of these two factors at the global scale is significantly higher than in China, resulting in a stronger impact of phosphorus limitation in China than globally. 

In the future, China needs to continue to strengthen research on the feedback mechanisms of carbon–nitrogen–phosphorus cycling, laying a scientific foundation for accurately estimating the national-scale carbon source–sink pattern. 

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