Symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the delivery of multiple ecosystem services: a global change perspective

D. A. Fornara

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    A key challenge facing humanity in the coming decades will be ensuring food supply to a growing human population without compromising the sustainability of many agro-ecosystems worldwide. Although agricultural soils remain firmly at the foundation of human life-support systems, human domination of terrestrial ecosystems over the last century has greatly affected their long-term sustainability as well as reducing soil biological diversity. This has mainly occurred through widespread land-use changes and through the chronic deposition of biologically available nutrients, such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P). Here I argue that a better understanding of the ecological role of symbiotic N-fixers could help in developing more sustainable multifunctional agro-ecosystems. N-fixers are beneficial for the delivery of multiple ecosystem services such as greater primary productivity (i.e. increased crop yields), increased soil carbon (C) and N sequestration, and higher soil biological diversity. Understanding the ecological mechanisms responsible for the provision of these ecosystem services may also be critical for reducing the global-warming potential of many agricultural practices worldwide.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    JournalCAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Sept 2011


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