Translator Disclaimer
1 March 2002 Nitrogen and Nature
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Anthropogenic changes to the global N cycle are important in part because added N alters the composition, productivity, and other properties of many natural ecosystems substantially. Why does added N have such a large impact? Why is N in short supply in so many natural ecosystems? Processes that slow the cycling of N relative to other elements and processes that control ecosystem-level inputs and outputs of N could cause N supply to limit the dynamics of ecosystems. We discuss stoichiometric differences between terrestrial plants and other organisms, the abundance of protein-precipitating plant defenses, and the nature of the C–N bond in soil organic matter as factors that can slow N cycling. For inputs, the energetic costs of N fixation and their consequences, the supply of nutrients other than N, and preferential grazing on N-fixers all could constrain the abundance and/or activity of biological N-fixers. Together these processes drive and sustain N limitation in many natural terrestrial ecosystems.

Peter M. Vitousek, Stephan Hättenschwiler, Lydia Olander, and Steven Allison "Nitrogen and Nature," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 31(2), (1 March 2002). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-31.2.97
Published: 1 March 2002
JOURNAL ARTICLE
5 PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top