, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 80-87

Effects of leaf longevity and retranslocation efficiency on the retention time of nutrients in the leaf biomass of different woody species

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A study was made of the retention times of N and P in the leaf biomass and their relationship with the retranslocation percentages and the leaf longevities in some woody species in Central Spain. The retention times of both nutrients were strongly related to the nutrient status of each species. These results suggest that a prolonged retention time is a way of increasing nutrient use efficiency in conditions of low nutrient availability. Plants can increase the retention time of nutrients in their leaf biomass by means of an increase in leaf longevity and/or by means of an increase in retranslocation efficiency. However, the effect of the retranslocation efficiency on retention times was almost negligible compared with the effect of leaf longevity. This suggests that an increase in leaf longevity is probably the best adaptation for increasing efficiency in the use of nutrients.