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Data from: Global pattern and drivers of nitrogen saturation threshold of grassland productivity


Peng, Yunfeng; Chen, Han; Yang, Yuanhe; Chen, Han Y.H. (2020), Data from: Global pattern and drivers of nitrogen saturation threshold of grassland productivity, Dryad, Dataset,


  1. Ecosystem productivity usually exhibits first increase and then saturated response to increasing nitrogen (N) additions, yet the broad-scale pattern and potential drivers of the N saturation threshold are little investigated.
  2. By synthesizing N addition experiments with at least four N-input levels from the global grasslands, we applied the quadratic-plus-plateau model to fit the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP)N rate relationship, and estimated the saturation threshold for N rate (critical N rate, NCR) and maximum ANPP (ANPPmax) from the inflection point where ANPP no longer statistically increased with N rate for individual experiments. Based on these estimations, we investigated the spatial pattern and driving factors of NCR and ANPPmax.
  3. The mean NCR and ANPPmax were 15.0 and 477.0 g m-2 year-1, respectively, but varied greatly across single-site experiments. Management strategies (e.g., biomass harvest, different N forms and addition frequency) minimally influenced both parameters. Structural equation models demonstrated that the spatial difference in NCR and ANPPmax were mainly explained by aridity index, and soil carbon (C)/N ratio availability also predicted the variation in NCR.
  4. Given that grasslands are important not only for the trend and variability of the land C sink but also for the maintenance of pasture yield, the pattern and controls of NCR and ANPPmax, as revealed by the current study, are crucial for constructing robust predictions of C sink capacity and improving N fertilizer management in grasslands.


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 317,705,213,182,500,000,000,000

Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Award: 2018106