, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 479–490 | Cite as

Temporal variation of δ13C of larch leaves from a montane boreal forest in Mongolia

  • Sheng-Gong Li
  • Maki Tsujimura
  • Atsuko Sugimoto
  • Gombo Davaa
  • Dambaravjaa Oyunbaatar
  • Michiaki Sugita
Original Paper


This paper reports the temporal variation (2002–2004) in foliar δ13C values, which are indicative of long-term integrated photosynthetic and water use characteristics, of Siberian larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.) trees in a montane forest at Mongonmorit, NE Mongolia. At the stand, the δ13C value for understory shaded leaves was more negative by 2‰ on average than that for sunlit leaves sampled concurrently from open and sun-exposed environments in a forest gap. The δ13C value of both sunlit and shaded leaves showed pronounced intra- but relatively small inter-seasonal variations. The δ13C value was more positive for juvenile than mature leaves. We conjecture that juvenile leaves may derive carbon reserves in woody tissues (e.g., stems). Regardless of leaf habitats, the δ13C value was also affected by insect herbivores occurred in mid summer of 2003, being more negative in newly emerging leaves from the twigs after defoliation than in non-defoliated mature leaves. This pattern seems to contrast with that for the juvenile leaves in the early growing season. We surmise that the newly emerging leaves used stored organic carbon that was depleted due to fractionation during remobilization and translocation for leaf regrowth. There was also intra- and inter-seasonal variation in the foliar N concentrations and C:N ratios. A good positive (negative) correlation between the foliar δ13C values and N concentrations (C:N ratios) was also observed for both sunlit and shaded leaves, suggesting that the relationship between water and nitrogen use is a crucial factor affecting the plant carbon–water relationship in this mid latitude forest with a cold semiarid climate. Our isotopic data demonstrate that the larches in NE Mongolia exhibits relatively higher water use efficiency with a distinct within-season variability.


Larix sibirica δ13Foliar nitrogen Water use efficiency Insect herbivore Cold semiarid ecosystem 



This study has been supported in part by the Japan Science and Technology Agency through a grant under the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST) program funded for the RAISE project. Partial support is from the Global Environment Research Fund of the Ministry of Environment of Japan. S.-G. Li is supported by the “Hundred Talents” Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and by Chinese Academy of Sciences International Partnership Project “Human Activities and Ecosystem Changes” (CXTD-Z2005–1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheng-Gong Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maki Tsujimura
    • 3
  • Atsuko Sugimoto
    • 4
  • Gombo Davaa
    • 5
  • Dambaravjaa Oyunbaatar
    • 5
  • Michiaki Sugita
    • 3
  1. 1.Synthesis Research CenterInstitute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Japan Science and Technology AgencyKawaguchiJapan
  3. 3.Division of Geo-Environmental SciencesGraduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  4. 4.Division of GeosciencesGraduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  5. 5.Institute of Meteorology and HydrologyUlaanbaatarMongolia

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