Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (9): 926-937.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0167

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Responses of nitrogen and phosphorus resorption from leaves and branches to long-term nitrogen deposition in a Chinese fir plantation

SHEN Fang-Fang1,2,LI Yan-Yan1,2,LIU Wen-Fei2,DUAN Hong-Lang2,FAN Hou-Bao2,*(),HU Liang2,MENG Qing-Yin3   

  1. 1School of Forestry, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Jiangxi Key Laboratory of Silviculture, Nanchang 330045, China
    2Institute of Ecology and Environmental Science, Nanchang Institute of Technology, Jiangxi Key Laboratory for Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems and Watershed Ecohydrology, Nanchang 330099, China
    3Guanzhuang National Forest Farm of Shaxian, Sha Xian, Fujian 365503, China
  • Received:2018-07-16 Revised:2018-09-10 Online:2019-01-15 Published:2018-09-20
  • Contact: Hou-Bao FAN
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.(31360175);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.(31570444);the Gan-Po 555 Talent Project, and the Jiangxi Provincial Fund for Academic and Technical Leadership of Major Disciplines.(20162BCB22021)


Aims Our objectives were to investigate differences in nutrient resorption between different plant organs (leaf and branch), among plants with different life spans (one-year old, two-year old and senesced), and under different duration of nitrogen (N) deposition treatments in a Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) plantation.

Methods The long-term N deposition experiment was conducted in a 12-year-old fir plantation of subtropical China. N deposition treatment was initiated in January 2004 until now, up-going 14 years. N deposition were designed at 4 levels of 0, 60, 120, and 240 kg·hm -2·a -1, indicated as N0, N1, N2, and N3, respectively, with 3 replicates for each treatment. The solution of CO(NH2)2was sprayed on the forest floor each month. In the study, we measured N and phosphorus (P) concentrations and analyzed the pattern of nutrient resorption of mature and senescing leaves and branches. The different responses of needles N and P resorption after 7- and 14-year N deposition treatments were also compared.

Important findings After 14 years of N deposition, (1) during the senescing process, leaf and branch C, N, and P content gradually decreased with increasing treatment duration, with higher content in leaf than in branch. N content decreased in the order of one-year old green leaf > two-year old green leaf > senescent leaf > one-year old living branch > two-year old living branch > senescent branch, and N3 > N2 > N1 > N0, with C:N showing the opposite trend. Senescent organs had higher C:N, N:P, and C:P than mature living organs. N deposition increased N, N:P, and C:P of mature living organs (except for the two-year old green leaf), while decreased P and C:N. (2) N resorption efficiency (REN) and P resorption efficiency (REP) of leaves and branches decreased gradually with increasing life span. REP was typically higher in leaf and branch than REN. Leaf had lower REN (28.12%) than branch (30.00%), but higher REP (45.82%) than branch (30.42%). A highly significant linear correlation existed between N:P and REN:REP in leaves and branches. (3) REN decreased but REP increased with the treatment duration of N deposition. The longer experimental duration (14 years) reduced REN by 9.85%, 3.17%, 11.71% under N1, N2, and N3 treatments, respectively, and increased REP by 71.98%, 42.25%, 9.60%, respectively, than the shorter treatment duration (7 years). In summary, the responses of essential nutrients resorption efficiency for different plant organs and life span varied with the levels and duration of N deposition treatment. REN:REP in leaf and branch were mostly driven by N:P of leaf and branch. The results highlight that nutrients resorption is significantly influenced by long-term N deposition.

Key words: nutrient resorption efficiency, ecological stoichiometry, Cunninghamia lanceolata plantation, long-term nitrogen deposition

Table 1

Background values of the stand and soil physicochemical properties in the nitrogen addition plots"

林分特征 Stand characteristics 土壤理化性质 Soil physicochemical properties
Forest age (a)
Density (No.·hm-2)
Mean DBH
Mean tree height (m)
pH 有机碳
Organic carbon (g·kg-1)
Total N (g·kg-1)
Total P (g·kg-1)
N0 12 1 717 16.1 11.8 4.59 19.23 0.86 0.22
N1 12 1 633 16.0 12.2 4.76 17.31 0.68 0.13
N2 12 1 683 16.3 12.2 4.65 18.88 0.80 0.17
N3 12 1 625 16.0 12.1 4.71 18.14 0.81 0.14

Table 2

Results (F values) of two-way ANOVA on the effects of components, nitrogen deposition treatment level and their interaction the ecological stoichiometry in leaves and branches of Chinese fir"

因子 Factor F (p)值 F (p) value
叶组分 Leaf components 1.173
氮沉降 N deposition 0.573
叶组分×氮沉降 Leaf components × N deposition 0.280
枝组分 Branch components 1.191
氮沉降 N deposition 0.165
枝组分×氮沉降 Branch components × N deposition 0.398

Fig. 2

Mean percentage changes of measured parameters (C, N, P, C:N, C:P, N:P) of Chinese fir leaf and branch after N deposition treatment for 14 years relative to these values under control (N0) (N0/N0 = 100%). A, One-year old leaf. B, Two-year old leaf. C, Senesced leaf. D, One-year old branch. E, Two-year old branch. F, Senesced branch. N0, N1, N2, N3, nitrogen addition 0, 60, 120, 240 kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively."

Fig. 3

Effects of long-term nitrogen deposition on N and P resorption efficiency in leaves and branches of Chinese fir (mean + SE). The black column indicates the ratio of the nutrient resorption efficiency between one-year old leaves/branches and senescent leaves/branches; light gray column indicates the ratio of the nutrient resorption efficiency between two-year old leaves/branches and senescent leaves/branches; white column indicates the ratio of the nutrient resorption efficiency between one-year old leaves/branches and two-year-old leaves. N0, N1, N2, N3, nitrogen addition 0, 60, 120, 240 kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences under different nitrogen addition treatment levels (p < 0.05)."

Fig. 4

Linear relationship between N resorption efficiency (REN) and P resorption efficiency (REP), N:P and N resorption efficiency to P resorption efficiency ratio (REN:REP) of leaf and branch under long-term nitrogen deposition treatments. Data included treatments for 14 years."

Fig. 5

N and P content of mature living and senescent leaves in 2010 (mean + SE). N0, N1, N2, N3, nitrogen addition 0, 60, 120, 240 kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively."

Fig. 6

N and P resorption efficiency of leaves in 2010 and 2017 (mean + SE). N0, N1, N2, N3, nitrogen addition 0, 60, 120, 240 kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively."

Table 3

The ratio of N resorption efficiency to P resorption efficiency (REN:REP) of leaves and branches in 2010 and 2017"

2010 2017
成熟-衰叶Mature- senescent leaf 一-衰叶
One-senesced leaf
Two-senesced leaf
One-senesced branch
Two-senesced branch
N0 0.89 0.69 0.37 0.69 0.75
N1 0.82 0.43 0.40 1.40 1.59
N2 0.87 0.63 0.34 1.06 0.67
N3 0.88 0.70 0.35 0.95 0.76

Fig. 1

C, N, P content and stoichiometry of leaves and branches of Chinese fir under long-term nitrogen deposition (mean + SE). Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences for the same life span leaf or branch under different nitrogen deposition treatment levels (p < 0.05). N0, N1, N2, N3, nitrogen addition 0, 60, 120, 240 kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively."

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