Imperial College London

Professor Iain Colin Prentice

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts



+44 (0)20 7594 2354c.prentice




1.1Centre for Population BiologySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Terrer, C and Prentice, I and Jackson, R and Keenan, T and Kaiser, C and Vicca, S and Fisher, J and Reich, P and Stocker, B and Hungate, B and Penuelos, J and McCallum, I and Soudzilovskala, N and Cernusak, L and Talhelm, A and Van, Sundert K and Piao, S and Newton, P and Hovenden, M and Blumenthal, D and Liu, Y and Muller, C and Winter, K and Field, C and Viechtbauer, W and Van, Lussa C and Hoosbeek, M and Watanabe, M and Koike, T and Leshyk, V and Polley, W and Franklin, O},
doi = {10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2},
journal = {Nature Climate Change},
pages = {684--689},
title = {Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomas},
url = {},
volume = {9},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections of the capacity of plants to take up CO2. Here, we present the first data-driven global quantification of the eCO2 effect on biomass based on 138 eCO2 experiments. The strength of CO2 fertilization is primarily driven by nitrogen (N) in ~65% of global vegetation, and by phosphorus (P) in ~25% of global vegetation, with N- or P-limitation modulated by mycorrhizal association. Our approach suggests that CO2 levels expected by 2100 can potentially enhance plant biomass by 12±3% above current values, equivalent to 59±13 PgC. The global-scale response to eCO2 we derive from experiments is similar to past changes in greenness9 and biomass10 with rising CO2, suggesting that CO2 will continue to stimulate plant biomass in the future despite the constraining effect of soil nutrients. Our research reconciles conflicting evidence on CO2 fertilization across scales and provides an empirical estimate of the biomass sensitivity to eCO2 that may help to constrain climate projections.
AU - Terrer,C
AU - Prentice,I
AU - Jackson,R
AU - Keenan,T
AU - Kaiser,C
AU - Vicca,S
AU - Fisher,J
AU - Reich,P
AU - Stocker,B
AU - Hungate,B
AU - Penuelos,J
AU - McCallum,I
AU - Soudzilovskala,N
AU - Cernusak,L
AU - Talhelm,A
AU - Van,Sundert K
AU - Piao,S
AU - Newton,P
AU - Hovenden,M
AU - Blumenthal,D
AU - Liu,Y
AU - Muller,C
AU - Winter,K
AU - Field,C
AU - Viechtbauer,W
AU - Van,Lussa C
AU - Hoosbeek,M
AU - Watanabe,M
AU - Koike,T
AU - Leshyk,V
AU - Polley,W
AU - Franklin,O
DO - 10.1038/s41558-019-0545-2
EP - 689
PY - 2019///
SN - 1758-678X
SP - 684
TI - Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomas
T2 - Nature Climate Change
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 9
ER -