Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (6): 471-479.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0021

• Review •     Next Articles

Modeling phosphorus effects on the carbon cycle in terrestrial ecosystems

HUANG Mei1,*(),WANG Na1,2,WANG Zhao-Sheng1,GONG He1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-01-22 Revised:2019-04-02 Online:2019-04-23 Published:2019-06-20
  • Contact: HUANG Mei
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41671101);the Strategic Priority Research Program for the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23100202)


Climate warming has significantly alerted the terrestrial carbon dynamics, resulting in enhanced vegetation productivity, especially in the northern hemisphere. However, most of the prior modeling studies have neglected the effects of nutrient availability, such as the phosphorus limitation, on carbon processes, which potentially leads to an overestimation of the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to sequester additional carbon. Here, we reviewed recent progress in phosphorus limitation and its interactions with carbon dynamics in the context of climate change, with a focus on the process-based modeling approach. We comparatively analyzed quantitative representations of phosphorus-associated biological processes in some models (i.e., Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA), Community Land Model (CLM), and Jena Scheme for Biosphere-Atmosphere Coupling in Hamburg (JSBACH)), such as photosynthesis and distribution of assimilates, phosphorus uptake by plants, the transformation of phosphorus pools in soil, phosphorus inputs and outputs, etc. We also discussed the key characteristics of these models and summarized the mathematical representations of the terrestrial phosphorus cycle. In addition, we identified and discussed the limitations, uncertainties and future needs in process-based modeling in terms of nutrient and carbon dynamics. Our study highlighted the importance of including phosphorus limitation in regional carbon estimation and provided deep insights related to biogeochemical modeling at broad scales.

Key words: phosphorus limitation, terrestrial ecosystem, carbon cycle, process-based modeling, climate change

Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of phosphorus effects on the terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycles."

Table 1

Comparison of phosphorus processes in CASA-CNP, CLM-CNP, and JSBACH-CNP"

Number of
phosphate pools
Time step
C:P ratio parameters
Simulation of the mineralization process
Scope of application
CASA-CNP 12 1 d 不同植被类型、植物不同器官具有不同的碳磷比
C:P ratios vary among different organs in various vegetation types
Only consider the biochemical
mineralization process
Temperate and tropical forest and grassland ecosystems
CLM-CNP 15 30 min 不同植被类型、植物不同器官具有不同的碳磷比
C:P ratios vary among different organs in various vegetation types
Consider both biomineralization and biochemical mineralization
Tropical forest and grassland
JSBACH-CNP 8 1 d 不同植被类型具有不同碳磷比, 但植物不同器官的碳磷比相同
C:P ratios are the same for organs but vary among various vegetation types
Consider both biomineralization and biochemical mineralization
Temperate and tropical forest and grassland ecosystems
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