Element interactions limit soil carbon storage

Kees Jan Van Groenigen, Johan Six, Bruce A. Hungate, Marie Anne De Graaff, Nico Van Breemen, Chris Van Kessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Scopus citations


Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 are thought to increase C sinks in terrestrial ecosystems. The potential of these sinks to mitigate CO 2 emissions, however, may be constrained by nutrients. By using metaanalysis, we found that elevated CO2 only causes accumulation of soil C when N is added at rates well above typical atmospheric N inputs. Similarly, elevated CO2 only enhances N2 fixation, the major natural process providing soil N input, when other nutrients (e.g., phosphorus, molybdenum, and potassium) are added. Hence, soil C sequestration under elevated CO2 is constrained both directly by N availability and indirectly by nutrients needed to support N2 fixation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6571-6574
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 25 2006


  • Global climate change
  • N fixation
  • Soil organic matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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