Ecosystems

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 159–171 | Cite as

Uplift, Erosion, and Phosphorus Limitation in Terrestrial Ecosystems

  • Stephen Porder
  • Peter M. Vitousek
  • Oliver A. Chadwick
  • C. Page Chamberlain
  • George E. Hilley
Article

ABSTRACT

Primary productivity on old, weathered soils often is assumed to be limited by phosphorus (P), especially in the lowland tropics where climatic conditions promote the rapid depletion of rock-derived nutrients. This assumption is based on a static view of soils weathering in place with no renewal of the bedrock source. In reality, advection of material through the soil column introduces a spatially variable supply of rock-derived nutrients. This flux is dependent on the residence time of soil, which can range from a few hundred years in rapidly uplifting collisional mountain belts to tens of millions of years in tectonically quiescent tropical cratons. We modeled the effects of tectonic uplift, erosion, and soil depth on the advection of P through the soil column and P availability, calibrating rate of change in biologically available P over time with data from two basaltic chronosequences in Hawai’i and a series of greywacke terraces in New Zealand. Combining our model with the global distribution of tectonic uplift rates and soil depths, we identified tectonic settings that are likely to support P-depleted ecosystems—assuming that tectonic uplift and erosion are balanced (that is, landscape development has reached steady state). The model captures the occurrence of transient P limitation in rapidly uplifting young ecosystems where mineral weathering is outpaced by physical erosion—a likely occurrence where biological N fixation is important. However, we calculate that P depletion is unlikely in areas of moderate uplift, such as most of Central America and Southeast Asia, due to the continuous advection of P into the rooting zone. Finally, where soil advection is slow, such as the Amazon Basin, we expect widespread P depletion in the absence of exogenous nutrient inputs.

Key words:

uplift erosion nutrients phosphorus soil age limitation. 

REFERENCES

  1. Almond PC, Moar NT, Lian OB. 2001. Reinterpretation of the glacial chronology of South Westland, New Zealand. N Z J Geol Geophys 44:1–15.Google Scholar
  2. Bern CR, Townsend AR, Farmer GL. 2005. Unexpected dominance of parent-material strontium in a tropical forest on highly weathered soils. Ecology 86:626–32.Google Scholar
  3. Brantley SL, White AF. 2003. The effect of time on the weathering of silicate minerals: why do weathering rates differ in the laboratory and field? Chem Geol 202:479–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bray RH, Kurtz LT. 1945. Determination of total, organic, and available forms of phosphorus in soils. Soil Sci 59:39–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calhoun FG, Smeck NE, Slater SBL, Bigham JM, Hall GF. 2001. Predicting bulk density of Ohio Soils from morphology, genetic principles, and laboratory characterization data. Soil Sci Soc Am J 65:811–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carson MA, Kirkby MJ. 1972. Hillslope form and process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 475 p.Google Scholar
  7. Chadwick OA, Derry LA, Vitousek PM, Huebert BJ, Hedin LO. 1999. Changing sources of nutrients during four million years of ecosystem development. Nature 397:491–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chamberlain CP, WaldbauerJR, Jacobson AD. 2005. Strontium, hydrothermal systems and steady-state chemical weathering in active mountain belts. Earth Planet Sci Lett 238, 351–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chapin FS, Walker LR, Fastie CL, Sharman LC. 1994. Mechanisms of primary succession following deglaciation at Glacier Bay, Alaska. Ecol Monogr 64:149–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crews TE, Kitayama K, Fownes JH, Riley RH, Herbert DA, Mueller-Dombois D, Vitousek PM. 1995. Changes in soil-phosphorus fractions and ecosystem dynamics across a long chronosequence in Hawaii. Ecology 76:1407–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cross AF, Schlesinger WH. 1995. A literature review and evaluation of the Hedley fractionation: applications to the biogeochemical cycle of soil phosphorus in natural ecosystems. Geoderma 64:197–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dennis JEJ. 1977. Nonlinear least-squares. In: Jacobs D, Eds. State of the art in numerical analyses. London: Academic Press. 978 p. pp 269–312.Google Scholar
  13. Dürr HH, Meybeck M, Dürr SH. 2005. Lithologic composition of the Earth’s continental surfaces derived from a new digital map emphasizing riverine material transfer. Global Biogeochem Cycles 19:GB4S10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Efimov VN, Kornilova LI, Ryabtseva ME. 1996. Absorbtion capacity and kinetics of sorption of phosphate ions in ferruginous peat soils of lowmoor bogs. Eurasian Soil Sci 29:928–33.Google Scholar
  15. Gilbert GK. 1880. Report on the geology of the Henry Mountains (Utah). United States Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  16. Guidry MW, Mackenzie FT. 2003. Experimental study of igneous and sedimentary apatite dissolution: control of pH, distance from equilibrium and temperature on dissolution rates. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 67:2949–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heimsath AM, Dietrich WE, Nishiizumi K, Finkel RC. 1997. The soil production function and landscape equilibrium. Nature 388:358–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Herbert DA, Fownes JH. 1995. Phosphorus limitation of forest leaf-area and net primary production on a highly weathered soil. Biogeochemistry 29:223–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hilley GE, Hren M, Chamberlain CP. 2006. Chemical weathering of steady-state landscapes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta.Google Scholar
  20. Jackson RB, Moore LA, Hoffmann WA, Pockman WT, Linder CR. 1999. Ecosystem rooting depth determined with caves and DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci 96:11387–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jenny H. 1941. Factors of soil formation: a system of quantitative pedology. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  22. Johnson AH, Frizano J, Vann DR. 2003. Biogeochemical implications of labile phosphorus in forest soils determined by the Hedley fractionation procedure. Oecologia 135:487–99.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Kurtz AC, Derry LA, Chadwick OA. 2001. Accretion of Asian dust to Hawaiian soils: isotopic, elemental, and mineral mass balances. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 65:1971–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lajtha K, Schlesinger WH. 1988. The biogeochemistry of phosphorus cycling and phosphorus availability along a desert soil chronosequence. Ecology 69:24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nadelhoffer KJ, Emmett BA, Gundersen P, Kjonaas OJ, Koopmans CJ, Schleppi P, Tietema A, Wright RF. 1999. Nitrogen deposition makes a minor contribution to carbon sequestration in temperate forests. Nature 398:145–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nepstad DC, Decarvalho CR, Davidson EA, Jipp PH, Lefebvre PA, Negreiros GH, Dasilva ED, Stone TA, Trumbore SE, Vieira S. 1994. The role of deep roots in the hydrological and carbon cycles of Amazonian forests and pastures. Nature 372:666–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Okin GS, Mahowald N, Chadwick OA, Artaxo P. 2004. Impacts of desert dust on the biogeochemistry of terrestrial ecosystems. Global Biogeochem Cycles 18:GB2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ostertag R. 2001. Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus availability on fine-root dynamics in Hawaiian montane forests. Ecology 82:485–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pant HK, Reddy KR. 2001. Phosphorus sorbtion characteristics of estuarine sediments under different redox conditions. J Environ Qual 30:1474–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Porder S, Asner GP, Vitousek PM. 2005a. Remotely-sensed and ground-based determination of nutrient availability across a tropical landscape. Proc Natl Acad Sci 102:10909–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Porder S, Paytan A, Vitousek PM. 2005b. Erosion and landscape development affect plant nutrient status in the Hawaiian Islands. Oecologia 142:440–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richardson SJ, Peltzer DA, Allen RB, McGlone MS. 2005. Resorbtion proficiency along a chronosequence: responses among communities and within species. Ecology 86:20–5.Google Scholar
  33. Richardson SJ, Peltzer DA, Allen RB, McGlone MS, Parfitt RL. 2004. Rapid development of phosphorus limitation in temperate rainforest along the Franz Joseph soil chronosequence. Oecologia 139:267–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor SR, McClennan SM. 1985. The continental crust: its composition and evolution. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific, 312 p.Google Scholar
  35. Shaw MR, Zavaleta ES, Chiariello NR, Cleland EE, Mooney HA, Field CB. 2002. Grassland responses to global environmental changes suppressed by elevated CO2. Science 298:1987–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stevens PR. 1968. A chronosequence of soils near the Franz Joseph Glacier. PhD thesis. Kent, UK: University of Canterbury. 389 p.Google Scholar
  37. Stoorvogel JJ, Van Breemen N, Janssen BH. 1997. The nutrient input by Harmattan Dust to a forest ecosystem in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. Biogeochemistry 37:145–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tanner EVJ, Vitousek PM, Cuevas E. 1998. Experimental investigation of nutrient limitation of forest growth on wet tropical mountains. Ecology 79:10–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vitousek PM, Chadwick O, Matson P, Allison SD, Derry L, Kettley L, Luers A, Mecking E, Monastra V, Porder S. 2003. Erosion and the rejuvenation of weathering-derived nutrient supply in an old tropical landscape. Ecosystems 6:762–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vitousek PM. 2004. Nutrient cycling and limitation: Hawai’i as a model system. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 232 p.Google Scholar
  41. Vitousek PM, Farrington H. 1997. Nutrient limitation and soil development: Experimental test of a biogeochemical theory. Biogeochemistry 37:63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vitousek PM, Howarth RW. 1991. Nitrogen limitation on land and in the sea: how can it occur? Biogeochemistry 13:87–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Waldbauer JR, Chamberlain CP. 2005. Influence of uplift, weathering and base cation supply on past and future CO2 levels. In: Cerling, TE, Ehleringer JR, Dearing MD, Eds. A history of atmospheric CO2 and its effects on plants, animals, and ecosystems. Heidelberg: Springer. 534 p. pp 166–84.Google Scholar
  44. Walker TW, Syers JK. 1976. The fate of phosphorus during pedogenesis. Geoderma 15:1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wardle DA, Walker LR, Bardgett RD. 2004. Ecosystem properties and forest decline in contrasting long-term chronosequences. Science 305:509–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Whipple KX, Kirby E, Brocklehurst SH. 1999. Geomorphic limits to climate-induced increases in topographic relief. Nature 401:39–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Willett SD, Slingerland R, Hovius N. 2001. Uplift, shortening, and steady state topography in active mountain belts. Am J Sci 401:455–85.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Porder
    • 1
  • Peter M. Vitousek
    • 2
  • Oliver A. Chadwick
    • 3
  • C. Page Chamberlain
    • 1
  • George E. Hilley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologySt BrownProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUC Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

Personalised recommendations