Carbon Sequestration Is Enhanced by CO2 Enrichment and Addition of Nutrients


A Free-Air-CO2-Enrichment (FACE) experiment with a pine forest reports that addition of nutrients significantly enhances growth and carbon sequestration. In the May 23, 2001, issue of Nature science magazine, Ram Oren, Dave Ellsworth, and colleagues report that the enhanced growth is due to the synergistic effect of elevated CO2 and simultaneous nutrient fertilization of the soil. The growth and sequestration responses of this forest ecosystem were greatest when poorest quality sites received CO2 and nutrient amendments. Forests occupy many sites with low soil fertility in the Southeastern United States, and these FACE experiments provide clues about how they are likely to respond as the atmospheric CO2 increases in future years. The research conducted by Duke University and Brookhaven National Laboratory is providing unique data for a wide range of physiological, biogeochemical and ecosystem responses to CO2, and these results from the combined CO2 and nutrient experiment demonstrate the role of fertility in ecosystem carbon cycle and sequestration processes.