Re: [soil-age] New source of global nitrogen discovered

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Erich Knight

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Jun 2, 2018, 10:42:13 PM6/2/18
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Yes, Rock weathering May indeed contribute that large of a percentage of nitrogen, but I seem to remember a study of fixed nitrogen coming from either being fixed into nitrates by either lightning in the atmosphere or microbes in the soil.



Also since most chemical nitrogen , NPK is made nowadays from fossil fuels to fix atmospheric nitrogen, I believe I saw a study that since World War II this was a predominant amount of fixed nitrogen in ecology.

On Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 9:49 AM Karl Thidemann <karl.th...@gmail.com> wrote:
“For centuries, the prevailing science has indicated that all of the nitrogen on Earth available to plants comes from the atmosphere. But a study from the University of California, Davis, indicates that more than a quarter comes from Earth's bedrock.”

More at
https://phys.org/news/2018-04-source-global-nitrogen.html

Karl
Soil4Climate


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Ronal W. Larson

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Jun 3, 2018, 11:22:06 PM6/3/18
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Tom and cc three lists

Thanks for your clarification.  The article itself (in Science magazine) is very clear on your point;  newness refers to newly recognized.  

I learned a good bit more about nitrogen here (and need to learn much more) - re nitrogen’s (huge) importance in biochar optimization.  This article gives more importance to high latitude biomass - since more nitrogen is available there than in the tropics.  I take this to expand the total global area where biochar can be profitable.

Here is the final paragraph (with a surprising emphasis on carbon storage and climate):

 Lastly, the availability of N singly and in combination with P profoundly limits terrestrial C storage, with nontrivial effects on global climate change (4, 46). Our previous work demonstrated a doubling of ecosystem C storage among temperate conifer forests residing on N-rich bedrock (7). Our model indicates that rock N inputs could make up >29% of total N inputs to boreal forests, which could help to explain the high C uptake capacity observed for this biome and partially mitigate the mismatch of C and N budgets in Earth system models (3). Historically, weathering has been viewed as responsive to CO2 enrichment and climate change over deep geological time (millions of years) (35). The direct connections that we draw between tectonic uplift, N inputs, and weathering reactions therefore emphasize a role for rock-derived nutrients in affecting the 21st-century C cycle and climate system.

Earlier there is also discussion of the role of microbes, fungi and roots - all biochar-related topics.  I wouldn’t say this article intends to promote biochar, but it should remind us that biochar alone doesn’t ever supply enough nitrogen.  There is no discussion in this article of leguminous biomass.

The supplemental (>50 pp) has much more on a detailed model - one of three ways they prove this new understanding of “weathering” (which is mainly microbes and fungi) to release old nitrogen.

Ron

On Jun 3, 2018, at 8:38 AM, Thomas Goreau <gor...@globalcoral.org> wrote:

The claim of new rock nitrogen is very misleading. The soil rock nitrogen is not primary new nitrogen but recycled old nitrogen fixation. This nitrogen is not present as ammonium, nitrate, or nitrogen in rock minerals, but as organic nitrogen in organic matter that has been buried and metamorphosed in sedimentary rocks like shales, which are clays cooked at varying temperature, pressure, and time. 

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Coordinator, Soil Carbon Alliance
Coordinator, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Small Island Developing States Partnership in New Sustainable Technologies
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
gor...@globalcoral.org
www.globalcoral.org
Skype: tomgoreau
Tel: (1) 617-864-4226

Books:

Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466595392

Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466557734



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