Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (12): 1146-1155.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0111

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry across components of forest ecosystem in Shaanxi Province

CUI Gao-Yang1, CAO Yang2,3, CHEN Yun-Ming2,3,*()   

  1. 1Research Center of Institute of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
    2State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
    and 3Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
  • Online:2015-12-01 Published:2015-12-31
  • Contact: Yun-Ming CHEN
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors


Aims Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry between vegetation, litter, and soil were important for understanding biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems, but remain poorly understood. Here, our aims were to study characteristics of N and P stoichiometry for the plant, litter, and soil and the interactions between its components across forest ecosystems in Shaanxi Province.Methods A total of 121 sampling sites, covering the most main forest types in Shaanxi, were established across the whole province in 2012. And N and P concentration of vegetation (tree and understory), litter and soil layers were measured for each site.Important findings 1) There were significant differences in the N and P stoichiometry among the forest ecosystem components (p < 0.05). N and P contents were higher in understory and litter layer, and lower in tree and soil. Whereas the N:P was slightly different, highest in litter and lowest in the soil layer, with little differences among remaining components. The contents of N, P and N:P ranged from 0.72 to11.99 mg·g-1, 0.47 to 1.07 mg·g-1, and 1.86 to 14.84, respectively. Within top 1 m soil layer N content and N:P decreased with soil depth (p < 0.05), however the P content did not exhibit significant changes. 2) N and P contents, and N:P of each component were higher in broadleaf forest than in coniferous forest, although the difference is not significant. 3) N was positively correlated with P content except for soil and N:P was negatively correlated with P content, but positively correlated with N content within each component. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation for N and P stoichiometric characteristics between litter layer and tree, herb, soil layer. 4) Although spatial pattern of N and P contents, and N:P differed in relation to longitude, latitude, and elevation for forest ecosystem components, a stable distribution was exhibited in general.

Key words: N, P, forest ecosystem, coniferous forest, broadleaf forest, spatial variation