Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (2): 208-219.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0262

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of altitudes on non-structural carbohydrate allocation in different dominate trees in Qilian Mountains, China

QIN Hui-Jun(), JIAO Liang, ZHOU Yi, XUE Ru-Hong, QI Chang-Liang, DU Da-Shi   

  1. Key Laboratory of Resource Environment and Sustainable Development of Oasis, Gansu Province, College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2021-07-13 Accepted:2021-11-15 Online:2022-02-20 Published:2021-12-13
  • Contact: QIN Hui-Jun,JIAO Liang
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41861006);Chinese Academy of Sciences “Light of West China” Program(2020XBZG-XBQNXZ-A);Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province(20JR10RA093)


Aims The objective of this study was to determine the altitude effects on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) allocation in Picea crassifoliaand Juniperus przewalskii,the dominate trees in the Qilian Mountains.

Methods Two dominant coniferous species, P. crassifoliaand J. przewalskii, in the Qilian Mountains were selected to compare the NSC contents and its components (soluble sugar and starch) at different altitudes by sampling the tree organs at high (3 300 m) and low altitudes (2 850 m). The NSC allocation trade-off characteristics and its component contents among leaf, trunk, thick root and fine root were analyzed by ttest and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Important findings (1) The content of NSC and its components in the whole plant and the measured organs of P. crassifolia at low altitude were significantly higher than those at high altitude, while the measures in the whole plant and the organs of J. przewalskii at low altitude were significantly lower than those at high altitude. (2) The soluble sugars of the two species were found mainly in the leaves, while the starch was mainly in the thick roots and trunk. (3) The ratio of soluble sugars:starch was significantly higher in P. crassifolia at high altitude than at low altitude, indicating that P. crassifolia at high altitude invested more carbon in growth, while at low altitude, more carbon for storage. (4) Altitude, tree species, organ, and their interactions significantly affected the contents of NSC and its component, and soluble sugar:starch as well. The tree species explains 38% and 37% of the total variation in NSC and starch, respectively; and organ explains 68% and 42% of the total variation in soluble sugar and soluble sugar:starch, respectively. The results provide a theoretical basis for understanding the ecological adaptation mechanism of the tree species at different altitudes in the Qilian Mountains.

Key words: nonstructural carbohydrates, altitude effect, tree species effect, resource allocation trade-off, Picea crassifolia, Juniperus przewalskii