Improved representation of phosphorus exchange on soil mineral surfaces reduces estimates of phosphorus limitation in temperate forest ecosystems Article - 2023

Lin Yu, Silvia Caldararu, Bernhard Ahrens, Thomas Wutzler, Marion Schrumpf, Julian Helfenstein, Chiara Pistocchi, Sönke Zaehle

Lin Yu, Silvia Caldararu, Bernhard Ahrens, Thomas Wutzler, Marion Schrumpf, Julian Helfenstein, Chiara Pistocchi, Sönke Zaehle, « Improved representation of phosphorus exchange on soil mineral surfaces reduces estimates of phosphorus limitation in temperate forest ecosystems  », Biogeosciences, 2023, pp. 57 - 73. ISSN 1726-4170

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) availability affects the response of terrestrial ecosystems to environmental and climate change (e.g., elevated CO2), yet the magnitude of this effect remains uncertain. This uncertainty arises mainly from a lack of quantitative understanding of the soil biological and geochemical P cycling processes, particularly the P exchange with soil mineral surfaces, which is often described by a Langmuir sorption isotherm.We first conducted a literature review on P sorption experiments and terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) using a Langmuir isotherm. We then developed a new algorithm to describe the inorganic P exchange between soil solution and soil matrix based on the double-surface Langmuir isotherm and extracted empirical equations to calculate the sorption capacity and Langmuir coefficient. We finally tested the conventional and new models of P sorption at five beech forest sites in Germany along a soil P stock gradient using the QUINCY (QUantifying Interactions between terrestrial Nutrient CYcles and the climate system) TBM.We found that the conventional (single-surface) Langmuir isotherm approach in most TBMs largely differed from P sorption experiments regarding the sorption capacities and Langmuir coefficients, and it simulated an overly low soil P-buffering capacity. Conversely, the double-surface Langmuir isotherm approach adequately reproduced the observed patterns of soil inorganic P pools. The better representation of inorganic P cycling using the double-surface Langmuir approach also improved simulated foliar N and P concentrations as well as the patterns of gross primary production and vegetation carbon across the soil P gradient. The novel model generally reduces the estimates of P limitation compared with the conventional model, particularly at the low-P site, as the model constraint of slow inorganic P exchange on plant productivity is reduced.

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