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.