Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (11): 1140-1148.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0049

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variations and interrelationships of foliar hydraulic and photosynthetic traits for Larix gmelinii

Zhi-Min LI, Chuan-Kuan WANG*(), Dan-Dan LUO   

  1. Center for Ecological Research, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
  • Received:2017-02-28 Accepted:2017-08-26 Online:2017-11-10 Published:2017-11-10
  • Contact: Chuan-Kuan WANG


Aims Variations and potential trade-offs of leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits are essential for assessing and predicting the effect of climate change on tree survival, growth and distribution. Our aims were to examine variations and interrelationships of leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits in response to changes in site conditions for Dahurian larch (Larix gmelinii)—a dominant tree species in Chinese boreal forests.
Methods This study was conducted at the Maoershan Forest Ecosystem Research Station. A transect of 27 year-old Dahurian larch plantation was established that consisted of five plots extending from the valley to the ridge of a slope. The predawn leaf water potential (Ψpre), area- and mass-based leaf hydraulic conductance (Karea and Kmass, respectively), resistance to embolism capacity (P50), leaf mass per area (LMA), net photosynthetic rate (A), and leaf nitrogen content (N) were measured in August 2016.
Important findings The Ψpre, Karea, Kmass, P50, A, LMA, and N all varied significantly among the plots (p < 0.05), indicating significant intra-specific variations in these traits in response to the changes in site conditions. The P50 was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with Ψpre, Karea or Kmass, suggesting that a trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and safety exist within the species to some degree. There were significant (p < 0.05) pairwise correlations between A, LMA, and N. Nevertheless, there was no significant (p < 0.05) correlation between the measured photosynthetic traits and hydraulic traits. We concluded that the intra-specific variations and multiple interrelationships of the leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits for the larch reflect the plasticity of its leaf traits and strategies of its survival and growth as a result of its acclimation to diverse site conditions.

Key words: leaf traits, leaf mass per area, photosynthetic rate, hydraulic conductance, intra-specific variation, site effect