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Bridget A. Emmett

Bio: Bridget A. Emmett is an academic researcher from Natural Environment Research Council. The author has contributed to research in topics: Ecosystem & Soil water. The author has an hindex of 65, co-authored 217 publications receiving 15049 citations. Previous affiliations of Bridget A. Emmett include Bangor University & University of Wales.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Ecosystems thought of as not N limited, such as tropical and subtropical systems, may be more vulnerable in the regeneration phase, in situations where heterogeneity in N availability is reduced by atmospheric N deposition, on sandy soils, or in montane areas.
Abstract: Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is a recognized threat to plant diversity in temperate and northern parts of Europe and North America. This paper assesses evidence from field experiments for N deposition effects and thresholds for terrestrial plant diversity protection across a latitudinal range of main categories of ecosystems, from arctic and boreal systems to tropical forests. Current thinking on the mechanisms of N deposition effects on plant diversity, the global distribution of G200 ecoregions, and current and future (2030) estimates of atmospheric N-deposition rates are then used to identify the risks to plant diversity in all major ecosystem types now and in the future. This synthesis paper clearly shows that N accumulation is the main driver of changes to species composition across the whole range of different ecosystem types by driving the competitive interactions that lead to composition change and/or making conditions unfavorable for some species. Other effects such as direct toxicity of nitrogen gases and aerosols, long-term negative effects of increased ammonium and ammonia availability, soil-mediated effects of acidification, and secondary stress and disturbance are more ecosystem- and site-specific and often play a supporting role. N deposition effects in mediterranean ecosystems have now been identified, leading to a first estimate of an effect threshold. Importantly, ecosystems thought of as not N limited, such as tropical and subtropical systems, may be more vulnerable in the regeneration phase, in situations where heterogeneity in N availability is reduced by atmospheric N deposition, on sandy soils, or in montane areas. Critical loads are effect thresholds for N deposition, and the critical load concept has helped European governments make progress toward reducing N loads on sensitive ecosystems. More needs to be done in Europe and North America, especially for the more sensitive ecosystem types, including several ecosystems of high conservation importance. The results of this assessment show that the vulnerable regions outside Europe and North America which have not received enough attention are ecoregions in eastern and southern Asia (China, India), an important part of the mediterranean ecoregion (California, southern Europe), and in the coming decades several subtropical and tropical parts of Latin America and Africa. Reductions in plant diversity by increased atmospheric N deposition may be more widespread than first thought, and more targeted studies are required in low background areas, especially in the G200 ecoregions.

2,154 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Dec 2016-Nature
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a comprehensive analysis of warming-induced changes in soil carbon stocks by assembling data from 49 field experiments located across North America, Europe and Asia, and provide estimates of soil carbon sensitivity to warming that may help to constrain Earth system model projections.
Abstract: The majority of the Earth's terrestrial carbon is stored in the soil. If anthropogenic warming stimulates the loss of this carbon to the atmosphere, it could drive further planetary warming. Despite evidence that warming enhances carbon fluxes to and from the soil, the net global balance between these responses remains uncertain. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of warming-induced changes in soil carbon stocks by assembling data from 49 field experiments located across North America, Europe and Asia. We find that the effects of warming are contingent on the size of the initial soil carbon stock, with considerable losses occurring in high-latitude areas. By extrapolating this empirical relationship to the global scale, we provide estimates of soil carbon sensitivity to warming that may help to constrain Earth system model projections. Our empirical relationship suggests that global soil carbon stocks in the upper soil horizons will fall by 30 ± 30 petagrams of carbon to 203 ± 161 petagrams of carbon under one degree of warming, depending on the rate at which the effects of warming are realized. Under the conservative assumption that the response of soil carbon to warming occurs within a year, a business-as-usual climate scenario would drive the loss of 55 ± 50 petagrams of carbon from the upper soil horizons by 2050. This value is around 12-17 per cent of the expected anthropogenic emissions over this period. Despite the considerable uncertainty in our estimates, the direction of the global soil carbon response is consistent across all scenarios. This provides strong empirical support for the idea that rising temperatures will stimulate the net loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere, driving a positive land carbon-climate feedback that could accelerate climate change.

787 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 1999-Nature
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors used evidence from 15 N-tracer studies in nine forests to show that elevated nitrogen deposition is unlikely to be a major contributor to the putative CO2 sink in forested northern temperature regions.
Abstract: Humans have altered global nitrogen cycling such that more atmospheric N2 is being converted (‘fixed’) into biologically reactive forms by anthropogenic activities than by all natural processes combined1. In particular, nitrogen oxides emitted during fuel combustion and ammonia volatilized as a result of intensive agriculture have increased atmospheric nitrogen inputs (mostly NO3 and NH4) to temperate forests in the Northern Hemisphere2,3,4. Because tree growth in northern temperate regions is typically nitrogen-limited5, increased nitrogen deposition could have the effect of attenuating rising atmospheric CO2 by stimulating the accumulation of forest biomass. Forest inventories indicate that the carbon contents of northern forests have increased concurrently with nitrogen deposition since the 1950s6,7,8. In addition, variations in atmospheric CO2 indicate a globally significant carbon sink in northern mid-latitude forest regions9,10,11,12. It is unclear, however, whether elevated nitrogen deposition or other factors are the primary cause of carbon sequestration in northern forests. Here we use evidence from 15N-tracer studies in nine forests to show that elevated nitrogen deposition is unlikely to be a major contributor to the putative CO2 sink in forested northern temperature regions.

735 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the impact of nitrogen (N) deposition was studied by comparing N fluxes, N concentrations and N pool sizes in vegetation and soil in five coniferous forest stands at the NITREX sites: Gardsjon (GD), Sweden, Klosterhede (KH), Denmark, Aber (AB), Wales, UK, Speuld (SP, the Netherlands, and Ysselsteyn (YS), the Netherlands.

601 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A systematic and holistic approach to investigate how soil and plant community characteristics change with altered precipitation regimes and the consequent effects on ecosystem processes and functioning within these experiments will greatly increase their value to the climate change and ecosystem research communities.
Abstract: Climatic changes, including altered precipitation regimes, will affect key ecosystem processes, such as plant productivity and biodiversity for many terrestrial ecosystems. Past and ongoing precipitation experiments have been conducted to quantify these potential changes. An analysis of these experiments indicates that they have provided important information on how water regulates ecosystem processes. However, they do not adequately represent global biomes nor forecasted precipitation scenarios and their potential contribution to advance our understanding of ecosystem responses to precipitation changes is therefore limited, as is their potential value for the development and testing of ecosystem models. This highlights the need for new precipitation experiments in biomes and ambient climatic conditions hitherto poorly studied applying relevant complex scenarios including changes in precipitation frequency and amplitude, seasonality, extremity and interactions with other global change drivers. A systematic and holistic approach to investigate how soil and plant community characteristics change with altered precipitation regimes and the consequent effects on ecosystem processes and functioning within these experiments will greatly increase their value to the climate change and ecosystem research communities. Experiments should specifically test how changes in precipitation leading to exceedance of biological thresholds affect ecosystem resilience and acclimation.

416 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a review of available scientific evidence shows that human alterations of the nitrogen cycle have approximately doubled the rate of nitrogen input into the terrestrial nitrogen cycle, with these rates still increasing; increased concentrations of the potent greenhouse gas N 2O globally, and increased concentration of other oxides of nitrogen that drive the formation of photochemical smog over large regions of Earth.
Abstract: Nitrogen is a key element controlling the species composition, diversity, dynamics, and functioning of many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Many of the original plant species living in these ecosystems are adapted to, and function optimally in, soils and solutions with low levels of available nitrogen. The growth and dynamics of herbivore populations, and ultimately those of their predators, also are affected by N. Agriculture, combustion of fossil fuels, and other human activities have altered the global cycle of N substantially, generally increasing both the availability and the mobility of N over large regions of Earth. The mobility of N means that while most deliberate applications of N occur locally, their influence spreads regionally and even globally. Moreover, many of the mobile forms of N themselves have environmental consequences. Although most nitrogen inputs serve human needs such as agricultural production, their environmental conse- quences are serious and long term. Based on our review of available scientific evidence, we are certain that human alterations of the nitrogen cycle have: 1) approximately doubled the rate of nitrogen input into the terrestrial nitrogen cycle, with these rates still increasing; 2) increased concentrations of the potent greenhouse gas N 2O globally, and increased concentrations of other oxides of nitrogen that drive the formation of photochemical smog over large regions of Earth; 3) caused losses of soil nutrients, such as calcium and potassium, that are essential for the long-term maintenance of soil fertility; 4) contributed substantially to the acidification of soils, streams, and lakes in several regions; and 5) greatly increased the transfer of nitrogen through rivers to estuaries and coastal oceans. In addition, based on our review of available scientific evidence we are confident that human alterations of the nitrogen cycle have: 6) increased the quantity of organic carbon stored within terrestrial ecosystems; 7) accelerated losses of biological diversity, especially losses of plants adapted to efficient use of nitrogen, and losses of the animals and microorganisms that depend on them; and 8) caused changes in the composition and functioning of estuarine and nearshore ecosystems, and contributed to long-term declines in coastal marine fisheries.

5,729 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
16 May 2008-Science
TL;DR: Optimizing the need for a key human resource while minimizing its negative consequences requires an integrated interdisciplinary approach and the development of strategies to decrease nitrogen-containing waste.
Abstract: Humans continue to transform the global nitrogen cycle at a record pace, reflecting an increased combustion of fossil fuels, growing demand for nitrogen in agriculture and industry, and pervasive inefficiencies in its use. Much anthropogenic nitrogen is lost to air, water, and land to cause a cascade of environmental and human health problems. Simultaneously, food production in some parts of the world is nitrogen-deficient, highlighting inequities in the distribution of nitrogen-containing fertilizers. Optimizing the need for a key human resource while minimizing its negative consequences requires an integrated interdisciplinary approach and the development of strategies to decrease nitrogen-containing waste.

5,249 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Food in the Anthropocene : the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems focuses on meat, fish, vegetables and fruit as sources of protein.

4,710 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a document, redatto, voted and pubblicato by the Ipcc -Comitato intergovernativo sui cambiamenti climatici - illustra la sintesi delle ricerche svolte su questo tema rilevante.
Abstract: Cause, conseguenze e strategie di mitigazione Proponiamo il primo di una serie di articoli in cui affronteremo l’attuale problema dei mutamenti climatici. Presentiamo il documento redatto, votato e pubblicato dall’Ipcc - Comitato intergovernativo sui cambiamenti climatici - che illustra la sintesi delle ricerche svolte su questo tema rilevante.

4,187 citations

Book
01 Sep 2011
TL;DR: In this paper, the Ecosystem Concept is used to describe the Earth's Climate System and Geology and Soils, and the ecosystem concept is used for managing and sustaining ecosystems.
Abstract: I. CONTEXT * The Ecosystem Concept * Earth's Climate System * Geology and Soils * II. MECHANISMS * Terrestrial Water and Energy Balance * Carbon Input to Terrestrial Ecosystems * Terrestrial Production Processes * Terrestrial Decomposition * Terrestrial Plant Nutrient Use * Terrestrial Nutrient Cycling * Aquatic Carbon and Nutrient Cycling * Trophic Dynamics * Community Effects on Ecosystem Processes * III. PATTERNS * Temporal Dynamics * Landscape Heterogeneity and Ecosystem Dynamics * IV. INTEGRATION * Global Biogeochemical Cycles * Managing and Sustaining Ecosystem * Abbreviations * Glossary * References

3,086 citations