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Water source partitioning and nitrogen facilitation promote coexistence of nitrogen-fixing and neighbor species in mixed plantations in the semiarid Loess Plateau

  • Yakun Tang
  • Xu Wu
  • Chen Chen
  • Chang Jia
  • Yunming ChenEmail author
Regular Article
  • 108 Downloads

Abstract

Aims

Effects of water source relations on the facilitation of nitrogen (N) acquisition between N2-fixing species (NFS) and neighbor species require further investigation, especially in water- and N-limited conditions.

Methods

Plant water sources and leaf physiological parameters of Hippophae rhamnoides and two neighbor species were investigated in pure and mixed plantations. Then, N stable isotope and N content of leaves were analyzed to examine the N facilitation of H. rhamnoides to neighbor species. Finally, interactions between plant water sources and N acquisition were detected using the dissimilarity analysis.

Results

H. rhamnoides and Pinus tabuliformis obtained water from similar soil depths, whereas, water sources were partitioned between H. rhamnoides and Ulmus pumila. Compared with pure plantations, P. tabuliformis and H. rhamnoides could not maintain a stable net photosynthetic rate (Pn) during the dry period in mixed plantation. However, H. rhamnoides and U. pumila in mixed plantation could alleviate drought effect on Pn through stomatal adjustments, comapred with pure plantations. Furthermore, H. rhamnoides facilitated N to neighbor species regardless of their water source relations, however, this facilitation only significantly improved the leaf N content of U. pumila.

Conclusions

Water source partitioning, stomatal adjustment, and N facilitation promoted stable coexistence of NFS and neighbor species in water- and N-limited environments.

Keywords

Loess Plateau Nitrogen facilitation Nitrogen stable isotope Stomatal adjustment Water stable isotope 

Abbreviations

N

Nitrogen

NFS

N2-fixing species

δ15N

Stable N isotope

ETP

Potential evapotranspiration

δD

Stable hydrogen isotope

δ18O

Stable oxygen isotope

SWC

Soil gravimetric water content

gs

Stomatal conductance

Pn

Net photosynthesis rate

Ψm

Midday leaf water potential

GLM

General linear model

CV

Coefficient of variation

PTHR

Pinus tabuliformisHippophae rhamnoides plantation

UPHR

Ulmus pumilaH. rhamnoides plantation

EMF

Ectomycorrhizal fungi

AMF

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

CMNs

Common mycorrhizal networks

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the constructive and insightful suggestions of section editor Rafael S. Oliveira and two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41977425), the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0604801), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2452016105).

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4301_MOESM1_ESM.docx (550 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 549 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Water ResourcesYanglingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina

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