Plant and Soil

, Volume 343, Issue 1–2, pp 393–400 | Cite as

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

  • Yuanhe Yang
  • Yiqi Luo
  • Meng Lu
  • Christina Schädel
  • Wenxuan Han
Regular Article


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.


Carbon:nitrogen ratio Global change Mineral soil Nitrogen deposition Plant tissues Stoichiometric shift Terrestrial ecosystems 

Supplementary material

11104_2011_736_MOESM1_ESM.doc (73 kb)
Appendix S1A list of papers from which data are extracted for this synthesis. (DOC 73 kb)
11104_2011_736_MOESM2_ESM.xls (172 kb)
Appendix S2Dataset of carbon content, nitrogen content, and carbon: nitrogen ratio in shoot, root and mineral soil under control and treatment conditions, together with reference sources, ecosystem type and experimental treatment. (XLS 171 kb)
11104_2011_736_MOESM3_ESM.doc (33 kb)
Table S1Terrestrial C:N ratio dynamics in response to elevated CO2 (+ CO2), N addition (+ N), and both elevated CO2 and N addition (+ CO2 + N). Values are means ± SE. The sample sizes (n) refers to the total number of the analyzed data points for each ecosystem component. (DOC 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuanhe Yang
    • 1
  • Yiqi Luo
    • 1
  • Meng Lu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christina Schädel
    • 1
  • Wenxuan Han
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Botany and MicrobiologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of Yangtze River Estuary, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, The Institute of Biodiversity ScienceFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina

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