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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

No impact of nitrogen fertilization on carbon sequestration in a temperate Pinus densiflora forest

Baek, Gyeongwon; Lim, Hyungwoo; Noh, Nam Jin; Kim, Choonsig


Carbon (C) sequestration capacity in forest ecosystems is generally constrained by soil nitrogen (N) availability. Consequently, N fertilization is seen as a promising tool for enhancing ecosystem-level C sequestration in N-limited forests. We examined the responses of ecosystem C (vegetation and soil) and soil N dynamics to 3 years of annual nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N3P4K1 = 11.3 g N, 15.0 g P, 3.7 g K m(-2) year(-1)) or PK fertilization (P4K1), observed over 4 years in a 40-year-old Pinus densiflora forest with poor N nutrition in South Korea. PK fertilization without N was performed to test for PK limitation other than N. Neither tree growth nor soil C fluxes responded to annual NPK or PK fertilization despite an increase in soil mineral N fluxes following NPK fertilization. NPK fertilization increased the rate of N immobilization and 80% of the added N was recovered from mineral soil in the 0-5 cm layer, suggesting that relatively little of the added N was available to trees. These results indicate that N fertilization does not always enhance C sequestration even in forests with poor N nutrition and should therefore be applied with caution.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2023, Volume: 13, number: 1, article number: 1743

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Forest Science

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