Nutrients resorption and stoichiometry characteristics of different-aged plantations of Larix kaempferi in the Qinling Mountains, central China

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Abstract

Elucidating the stoichiometry and resorption patterns of multiple nutrients is of essential importance to holistically understanding plant nutrition and biogeochemical cycling. Although many studies on ecological stoichiometry have been carried out, surprisingly few of them were simultaneously done on the investigation of both nutrient resorption efficiency and stoichiometry for different-aged plantations of a perennial tree. Here, both green and senesced leaf samples were collected from four Larix kaempfer plantations aged of 8, 15, 22, and 32 years in the Qinling Mountains to examine nutrients resorption efficiency and stoichiometry characteristics. The results suggested that the nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Al, and Fe in both green and senesced leaves of L. kaempferi (a deciduous conifer tree) did not show a regular change trends along the plantation ages in the Qinling Mountains. The concentrations of the most nutrients examined, except for Fe, in the green leaves were relatively lower than or close to the required physiological concentrations, suggesting a relative limitation of multiple nutrients exists in L. kaempferi for its above-ground biomass growth. The rank order of resorption efficiencies of four key nutrients (N, P, K, and Mg) was K (80.89%) > N (67.42%) > P (65.34%) > Mg (41.16%), whereas the nutrient Ca and Fe tended to accumulate in senesced leaves. Overall, the nutrient resorption efficiency of all examined elements did not exhibit a regular trend corresponding to the change of the plantation ages in L. kaempferi, but it was positively related to the nutrient concentrations in green leaves. The mean C:N and C:P ratios in the green and senesced leaves were significantly higher than those reported globally (on average). By contrast, the N:P ratio, at <14, was not only much lower than that reported for both China’s flora and globally (on average), but it did suggest that the N nutrient limits growth of L. kaempferi in these plantations. Taken together, the results of this study are of substantial interest and value to forest managers and for the sustainable development of the Qinling forest ecosystems.

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Chang, Y., Li, N., Wang, W., Liu, X., Du, F., & Yao, D. (2017). Nutrients resorption and stoichiometry characteristics of different-aged plantations of Larix kaempferi in the Qinling Mountains, central China. PLoS ONE, 12(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189424

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