Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Ecologically implausible carbon response?

Nature volume 451, pages E1E3 (14 February 2008) | Download Citation

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 26 February 2009


Arising from: F. Magnani et al. Nature 447, 849–851 (2007)10.1038/nature05847; Magnani et al. reply

Magnani et al.1 present a very strong correlation between mean lifetime net ecosystem production (NEP, defined as the net rate of carbon (C) accumulation in ecosystems2) and wet nitrogen (N) deposition. For their data in the range 4.9–9.8 kg N ha-1 yr-1, on which the correlation largely depends, the response is approximately 725 kg C per kg N in wet deposition. According to the authors, the maximum N wet deposition level of 9.8 kg N ha-1 yr-1 is equivalent to a total deposition of 15 kg N ha-1 yr-1, implying a net sequestration near 470 kg C per kg N of total deposition. We question the ecological plausibility of the relationship and show, from a multi-factor analysis of European forest measurements, how interactions with site productivity and environment imply a much smaller NEP response to N deposition.

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  1. *Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

    • Wim de Vries
    • , Gert Jan Reinds
    •  & Gert-Jan Nabuurs
  2. †Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, PO Box 115, N-1431 Ås, Norway

    • Svein Solberg
  3. ‡Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland

    • Matthias Dobbertin
  4. §University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Peter Jordan-Straße 82, A-1190 Vienna, Austria

    • Hubert Sterba
    •  & Daniel Laubhahn
  5. Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, University of Copenhagen, Hoersholm, Denmark

    • Per Gundersen
  6. ¶Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh Research Station, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, UK

    • Mark A. Sutton


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