, Volume 343, Issue 1-2, pp 393-400
Date: 25 Feb 2011

Terrestrial C:N stoichiometry in response to elevated CO2 and N addition: a synthesis of two meta-analyses

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Both elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N) deposition may induce changes in C:N ratios in plant tissues and mineral soil. However, the potential mechanisms driving the stoichiometric shifts remain elusive. In this study, we examined the responses of C:N ratios in both plant tissues and mineral soil to elevated CO2 and N deposition using data extracted from 140 peer-reviewed publications. Our results indicated that C:N ratios in both plant tissues and mineral soil exhibited consistent increases under elevated CO2 regimes whereas decreases in C:N ratios were observed in response to experimental N addition. Moreover, soil C:N ratio was less sensitive than plant C:N ratio to both global change scenarios. Our results also showed that the responses of stoichiometric ratios were highly variable among different studies. The changes in C:N ratio did not exhibit strong correlations with C dynamics but were negatively associated with corresponding changes in N content. These results suggest that N dynamics drive stoichiometric shifts in both plant tissues and mineral soil under both elevated CO2 and N deposition scenarios.

Responsible Editor: Klaus Butterbach-Bahl.