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Documented from space: plants reallocate nitrogen to roots during autumn

Storing nitrogen (N) in the root zone in the autumn is an important strategy for many arctic shrub species. A new study shows that the timing at which tundra shrubs reallocate N to the root zone can successfully be detected with satellites. The study also reveals that different plant species have different strategies and that the overall transfer of N from above to belowground can be calculated on a landscape basis. This important process can lead to changes in vegetation composition with future climate changes.

Beautiful colors near Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland. Below the ground surface, plants accumulate and store nitrogen for the next growing season (read more here). This is an important strategy for plants in the Arctic, where the availability of nitrogen often is a limiting factor for plant growth.

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