Soil net nitrogen mineralisation across global grasslands

A. C. Risch, S. Zimmermann, R. Ochoa-Hueso, M. Schutz, B. Frey, J. L. Firn, P. A. Fay, F. Hagedorn, E. T. Borer, E. W. Seabloom, W. S. Harpole, J. M. H. Knops, R. L. McCulley, A. A. D. Broadbent, C. J. Stevens, M. L. Silveira, P. B. Adler, S. Baez, L. A. Biederman, J. M. BlairC. S. Brown, M. C. Caldeira, S. L. Collins, P. Daleo, A. di Virgilio, A. Ebeling, N. Eisenhauer, E. Esch, A. Eskelinen, N. Hagenah, Y. Hautier, K. P. Kirkman, A. S. MacDougall, J. L. Moore, S. A. Power, S. M. Prober, C. Roscher, M. Sankaran, J. Siebert, K. L. Speziale, P. M. Tognetti, R. Virtanen, L. Yahdjian, B. Moser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Soil nitrogen mineralisation (N-min), the conversion of organic into inorganic N, is important for productivity and nutrient cycling. The balance between mineralisation and immobilisation (net N-min) varies with soil properties and climate. However, because most global-scale assessments of net N-min are laboratory-based, its regulation under field-conditions and implications for real-world soil functioning remain uncertain. Here, we explore the drivers of realised (field) and potential (laboratory) soil net N-min across 30 grasslands worldwide. We find that realised N-min is largely explained by temperature of the wettest quarter, microbial biomass, clay content and bulk density. Potential N-min only weakly correlates with realised N-min, but contributes to explain realised net N-min when combined with soil and climatic variables. We provide novel insights of global realised soil net N-min and show that potential soil net N-min data available in the literature could be parameterised with soil and climate data to better predict realised N-min.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4981
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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