Carbon-nitrogen interactions in terrestrial ecosystems in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide

Peter B. Reich, Bruce A Hungate, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

283 Scopus citations


Interactions involving carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) likely modulate terrestrial ecosystem responses to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2) levels at scales from the leaf to the globe and from the second to the century. In particular, response to elevated CO2 may generally be smaller at low relative to high soil N supply and, in turn, elevated CO 2 may influence soil N processes that regulate N availability to plants. Such responses could constrain the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to acquire and store C under rising elevated CO2 levels. This review highlights the theory and empirical evidence behind these potential interactions. We address effects on photosynthesis, primary production, biogeochemistry, trophic interactions, and interactions with other resources and environmental factors, focusing as much as possible on evidence from long-term field experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-636
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
StatePublished - 2006



  • Biogeochemistry
  • Global change
  • Nitrogen
  • Photosynthesis
  • Stoichiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

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