Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant production could decline as climate change affects soil nutrients

01.11.2013
As drylands of the world become even drier, water will not be the only resource in short supply. Levels of nutrients in the soil will likely be affected, and their imbalance could affect the lives of one-fifth of the world’s population.

That includes people living in Arizona, who may be in for a dustier future.


The cliff face of Cedar Mesa, in southeast Utah, overlooks one of many sites sampled in the world's drylands.

The findings are presented in a study published in Nature that details how soil changes may occur and discusses the implications. Co-author Matthew Bowker, assistant professor of forest soils and ecosystem ecology at Northern Arizona University, was involved with the project since 2009.

Bowker explained that most of the 17 nutrients that plants need to grow to their potential are soil resources, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The statistical model he helped develop for the study suggests that as the climate becomes more arid, nitrogen will decrease and phosphorus will increase.

“Both are essential for plant growth, and both are typical components of fertilizer, but both need to be around in the right quantities for plant growth to proceed most efficiently,” Bowker said.

“It’s like a situation where you’re making hamburgers but run out of beef. You can’t just slip in another bun and still produce a hamburger.”

Drylands, which are defined by predominantly lower levels of moisture, cover about 41 percent of the earth’s surface. The study suggests that people who depend on those ecosystems for crops, livestock forage, fuel and fiber will find their resources increasingly restrained.

In Arizona, Bowker said, the projected decrease in plant production could magnify the impact of dust storms, which have been increasing in recent decades.

“We can probably expect more and more dust in the air,” he said.

The project involved visits by research teams in 16 countries to 224 locations on every continent except Antarctica. Bowker led one of the sampling teams, which visited 10 study sites in northern Arizona and Utah. Those sites ranged from dry, grassy shrublands with low precipitation to relatively wet sagebrush ecosystems.

“This is a testament to the power of networked science,” Bowker said, adding that it would have been “prohibitively expensive” for any one researcher or research group to complete the project.

Eric Dieterle | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nau.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>