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Symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the delivery of multiple ecosystem services: a global change perspective

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

Fornara, D. A. (2011) Symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the delivery of multiple ecosystem services: a global change perspective. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 6 . pp. 1-8. [Journal article]

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Abstract

A key challenge facing humanity in the coming decades will be ensuring food supply to a growing human population without compromising the sustainability of many agro-ecosystems worldwide. Although agricultural soils remain firmly at the foundation of human life-support systems, human domination of terrestrial ecosystems over the last century has greatly affected their long-term sustainability as well as reducing soil biological diversity. This has mainly occurred through widespread land-use changes and through the chronic deposition of biologically available nutrients, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P). Here I argue that a better understanding of the ecological role of symbiotic N-fixers could help in developing more sustainable multifunctional agro-ecosystems. N-fixers are beneficial for the delivery of multiple ecosystem services such as greater primary productivity (i.e. increased crop yields), increased soil carbon (C) and N sequestration, and higher soil biological diversity. Understanding the ecological mechanisms responsible for the provision of these ecosystem services may also be critical for reducing the global-warming potential of many agricultural practices worldwide.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Environmental Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Environmental Sciences Research Institute
Environmental Sciences Research Institute > Terrestrial Ecology
ID Code:20231
Deposited By:Dr Dario Fornara
Deposited On:05 Oct 2011 09:14
Last Modified:11 Oct 2011 10:54

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