Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1481–1488 | Cite as

Effect of nitrogen levels on photosynthetic parameters, morphological and chemical characters of saplings and trees in a temperate forest

  • Jinwei Sun
  • Fuqi YaoEmail author
  • Jiabing Wu
  • Pingcang Zhang
  • Wensheng Xu
Original Paper


Exploring the response differences of leaf physiology parameters to enhanced nitrogen deposition between saplings and trees is vital for predicting the variations of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function under future global climate change. In this study, the ecophysiological parameters of saplings and trees of Fraxinus mandshurica Rupr. were measured at different levels of nitrogen addition in a temperate forest. The results show that ecophysiological parameters maximum net photosynthetic rate (P max), apparent quantum efficiency (α), dark respiration (R d), light saturation point (L sp), photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency (PNUE), specific leaf area (SLA) and stomatal conductance under saturated light intensity (G smax) were higher in saplings than in trees. These physiological parameters and not N leaf (leaf nitrogen content) led to relatively lower P max and R d in trees. For both saplings and trees, low and median nitrogen addition (23 and 46 kg ha−1a−1) resulted in significant increases in P max, R d, L sp, Chl, PNUE, SLA and G smax. These parameters tended to decline under high additions of nitrogen (69 kg ha−1a−1), whereas N leaf was always enhanced with increasing nitrogen. Variations in P max and R d with increasing nitrogen were attributed to variations in the strongly related parameters of, L sp, Chl, PNUE, SLA and G smax. Overall, the response sensitivity of physiological parameters to enhanced nitrogen levels was lower in trees compared with saplings.


Physiology parameters Added nitrogen Saplings Trees Deciduous broadleaved species 



The authors are deeply grateful to the staff of the National Forest Ecosystem Research Station of Changbai Mountain for their assistance in the maintenance of instruments and collection of field data.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinwei Sun
    • 1
  • Fuqi Yao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jiabing Wu
    • 2
  • Pingcang Zhang
    • 1
  • Wensheng Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Changjiang River Scientific Research InstituteWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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