Study finds decline in nitrogen levels

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Wang Wang

A new study casts doubt as to whether plants will continue to absorb as much carbon dioxide in the future as they have in the past, due to declining availability of nitrogen in certain parts of the world.

In grasslands and forests, which are not directly fertilized, the availability of nitrogen to plants is declining, according to a paper published Oct. 22 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. One of the co-authors is Lixin Wang, associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI.

An essential nutrient for plants as well as for humans, nitrogen is used widely in more urban, developed countries to fertilize crops. In fact, it has been used so widely that its use has raised environmental concerns.

With nitrogen deficiency, plants are unable to absorb the same quantity of carbon dioxide as they did previously.•

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