Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (12): 1693-1707.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0301

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Nitrogen addition affects growth and functional traits of Machilus pauhoi seedlings from different provenances

AN Fan1, LI Bao-Yin1,2,*(), ZHONG Quan-Lin1,2, CHENG Dong-Liang1,2, XU Chao-Bin1, ZOU Yu-Xing1, ZHANG Xue1, DENG Xing-Yu1, LIN Qiu-Yan1   

  1. 1College of Geographical Sciences, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
    2State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Humid Subtropical Mountain Ecology, Fujian Province Key Laboratory of Plant Ecophysiology, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
  • Received:2022-07-20 Accepted:2023-01-31 Online:2023-12-20 Published:2023-02-03
  • Contact: *(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31971643);National Natural Science Foundation of China(32071555);Industry-University Cooperation Project of Fujian Science and Technology Department(2019N5009);Industry-University Cooperation Project of Fujian Science and Technology Department(2020N5008)


Aims Nitrogen (N) is an important nutrient element affecting plant growth, biomass allocation and functional trait strategies. Revealing the ecological responses of different provenances to N deposition can help elucidate the adaptation mechanisms of plant species.
Methods In this study, Machilus pauhoi seedlings from 6 provenances in Wanmulin, Fujian Province (WML), Mangdang Mountain, Fujian Province (MDS), Suichuan, Jiangxi Province (SC), Jiande, Zhejiang Province (JD), Chaling, Hunan Province (CL) and Anfu, Jiangxi Province (AF) were selected as our study objects. By setting two treatments of fertilization and no fertilization, we investigated the effects of N addition, provenance and their interactions on biomass allocation and functional traits of M. pauhoi seedlings.
Important findings 1) Nitrogen addition significantly promoted total biomass accumulation and the relative growth rate of M. pauhoi seedlings, with the greatest response observed for JD seedlings. However, the effect of N addition on biomass allocation varied by provenance, with JD and AF seeding showing increased leaf mass fraction, and WML and AF seedlings showing increased leaf stem ratio. 2) The effects of N addition on leaf traits of seedlings also varied by provenance. N application significantly reduced the specific leaf area of JD, CL and AF seedlings, but increased the leaf area and leaf N:phosphorus (P) of CL seedling. 3) The response of major functional traits of fine roots to N addition also varied by provenance. N addition significantly decreased the average root diameter and root tissue density of SC, JD and AF seedlings, but increased the root tissue density of WML seedling, the specific root length of MDS and JD seedlings, and the specific surface area of SC and JD seedlings. N addition significantly increased the fine root N content of AF seedling, but decreased the fine root P content of WML, MDS and SC seedlings, and the fine root N:P of all provenances were significantly higher in fertilization treatments than in the control. 4) We observed higher phenotypic plasticity in fine root and biomass-related phenotypes than in leaf traits among different provenances, with the highest phenotypic plasticity in the JD seedling and the lowest phenotypic plasticity in the SC seedling. 5) Structural equation modeling showed that N addition and provenance had significant effects on the growth of M. pauhoi seedlings, with N addition influencing growth by affecting leaf stem ratio and leaf N:P, and provenance influencing growth by affecting specific leaf area and fine root surface area. The growth, biomass and functional traits of M. pauhoi seedlings from different provenances have different ecological adaptation strategies to N addition. Among them, JD seedlings is more adaptable to changes in the external environment, which may account for its long-term adaptation to the provenance environment. Our results provide a theoretical basis for the selection of optimal provenance of M. pauhoi in subtropical regions of China that affected by N deposition.

Key words: provenances, nitrogen addition, functional trait, growth, Machilus pauhoi