Advertisement

Vegetatio

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 225–237 | Cite as

The efficiency of nitrogen retranslocation from leaf biomass in Quercus ilex ecosystems

  • A. Escudero
  • J. M. Del Arco
  • M. V. Garrido
Part D: Nutrient Cycling and budget

Abstract

Nitrogen retranslocation from senescing leaves represents a crucial adaptation by tree species towards a more efficient use of this nutrient. As a result, this part of the nitrogen cycle has received increasing attention in recent years. However, there remain strong discrepancies with respect to the factors responsible for interspecific differences in the efficiency of this process.

In the present work the seasonal pattern of leaf growth and the movement of nitrogen in leaves have been studied in a series of Quercus ilex plots with different levels of rainfall and soil quality in central-western Spain, as well as in 20 other woody species typical of this area. The percentage of nitrogen retranslocated was estimated from the difference between the maximum mass of nitrogen stored in the leaf biomass and the amount of this nutrient returned annually to the soil through leaf fall.

Q. ilex appears as one of the least efficient species in the Mediterranean region in the recovery of nitrogen from senescing leaves (29.7% of the maximum pool). Furthermore, the older leaves of Q. ilex do not show the cycles of nitrogen withdrawal during new flushes of shoot growth, such as occurs in Pinus spp. This suggests that older leaves in Q. ilex do not play an important role as nitrogen storage organs.

Keywords

Leaf demography Leaf fall Nutrient cycling Quercus ilex Quercus pyrenaica Pinus pinea 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bremner, J. M. 1960. Determination of nitrogen in soil by the Kjeldahl method. J. Agric. Sci. 55: 11–31.Google Scholar
  2. Chabot, B. F. & Hicks, D. J. 1982. The ecology of leaf life spans. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 13: 229–259.Google Scholar
  3. Chapin, F. S. & Kedrowski, R. A. 1983. Seasonal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus fractions and autumn retranslocation in evergreen and deciduous taiga trees. Ecology 64: 376–391.Google Scholar
  4. Chapmann, H. D. & Pratt, P. F. 1973. Methods of analysis for soils, plants and waters. University of California Press. Riverside, California.Google Scholar
  5. Deevey, E. S. 1947. Life tables for natural populations of animals. Quart. Rev. Biol. 22: 283–314.Google Scholar
  6. Del, Arco, J. M., Escudero, A. & Garrido, M. V. 1991. Effects of site characteristics on nitrogen retranslocation from senescing leaves. Ecology 72: 701–708.Google Scholar
  7. Escudero, A., Garcia, B., Gomez, J. M. & Luis, E. 1985. The nutrient cycling in Quercus rotundifolia Lam. and Quercus pyrenaica Willd. ecosystems (‘dehesas’) of Spain. Oecol. Plant. 6: 173–186.Google Scholar
  8. Escudero, A., Manzano, J. J. & Del, Arco, J. M. 1987. Nitrogen concentrations in the leaves of different Mediterranean woody species. Ecologia Mediterranea 13: 11–17.Google Scholar
  9. Fife, D. N. Nambiar, E. K. S. 1984. Accumulation and retranslocation of mineral nutrients in developing needles in relation to seasonal growth of young radiata pine trees. Ann. Bot. 50: 817–829.Google Scholar
  10. Harper, J. L. 1977. Population biology of plants. Academic Press. London-New York-San Francisco.Google Scholar
  11. Kummerow, J. 1983. Comparative phenology of mediterranean-type plant communities. In: Kruger, F. J., Michell, D. T. & Jarvis, J. U. M. (eds.). Mediterranean-type ecosystems. The role of nutrients. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  12. Lajtha, K. & Whitford, W. G. 1989. The effect of water and nitrogen amendments on photosynthesis, leaf demography and resource-use efficiency in Larrea tridentata, a desert evergreen shrub. Oecologia 80: 341–348.Google Scholar
  13. Landsberg, J. J. 1986. Physiological ecology of forest production. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  14. Monk, C. D. 1966. An ecological significance of evergreenness. Ecology 47: 504–505.Google Scholar
  15. Mooney, H. A. 1983. Carbon-gaining capacity and allocation patterns of mediterranean-climate plants. In: F. J., Kruger, Michell, D. T. & Jarvis, J. U. M. (eds.). Mediterraneantype ecosystems. The role of nutrients. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  16. Nátr, L. 1975. Influence of mineral nutrition on photosynthesis and the use of assimilates. In: Cooper, J. P. (ed.). Photosynthesis and productivity in different environments. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Rapp, M. 1969. Production de litière et apport ai sol d'éléments minéraux dans deux écosystèmes méditerranéens: la forêt de Quercus ilex L. et la garrigue de Quercus coccifera L. Oecol. Plant. 4: 377–410.Google Scholar
  18. Ryan, D. F. & Bormann, F. H. 1982. Nutrient resorption in northern hardwood forests. Bio Science 32: 29–32.Google Scholar
  19. Vitousek, P. 1982. Nutrient cycling and nutrient use efficiency. Am. Nat. 119: 553–572.Google Scholar
  20. Walkley, A. & Black, I. A. 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci. 37: 29–38.Google Scholar
  21. White, J. 1979. The plant as a metapopulation. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 10: 109–145.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Escudero
    • 1
  • J. M. Del Arco
    • 1
  • M. V. Garrido
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain

Personalised recommendations