Boreal Forest (image) Princeton University Share Print E-Mail Caption Princeton University researchers have found that nature has developed a backup method for converting atmospheric nitrogen into the nutrient form critical to plant growth and soil fertility. The researchers report that the process known as nitrogen fixation can be carried out by the metal vanadium in ecosystems -- particularly in the northern hemisphere -- where the primary catalyst molybdenum is scarce. The study suggests that nature's capacity to restore ecosystems in the wake of human-made disturbances or fertilize agricultural land is more resilient than previously thought. Credit (Photo by Marie Renaudin, University of Sherbrooke) Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.