Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1665–1673 | Cite as

Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry in Pinus tabulaeformis forest ecosystems in warm temperate Shanxi Province, north China

  • Ning Wang
  • Fengzhen FuEmail author
  • Baitian Wang
  • Ruijun Wang
Original Paper


Although carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorous (P) stoichiometric ratios are considered good indicators of nutrient excess/limitation and thus of ecosystem health, few reports have discussed the trends and the reciprocal effects of C:N:P stoichiometry in plant–litter–soil systems. The present study analyzed C:N:P ratios in four age groups of Chinese pine, Pinus tabulaeformis Carr., forests in Shanxi Province, China: plantation young forests (AY, < 20 year-old); plantation middle-aged forests (AM, 21–30 year-old); natural young forests (NY, < 30 year-old); and natural middle-aged forests (NM, 31–50 year-old). The average C:N:P ratios calculated for tree, shrub, and herbaceous leaves, litter, and soil (0–100 cm) were generally higher in NY followed by NM, AM, and AY. C:N and C:P ratios were higher in litter than in leaves and soils, and reached higher values in the litter and leaves of young forests than in middle-aged forests; however, C:N and C:P ratios were higher in soils of middle-aged forests than in young forests. N:P ratios were higher in leaves than in litter and soils regardless of stand age; the consistent N:P < 14 values found in all forests indicated N limitations. With plant leaves, C:P ratios were highest in trees, followed by herbs and shrubs, indicating a higher efficiency in tree leaf formation. C:N ratios decreased with increasing soil depth, whereas there was no trend for C:P and N:P ratios. C:N:P stoichiometry of forest foliage did not exhibit a consistent variation according to stand age. Research on the relationships between N:P, and P, N nutrient limits and the characteristics of vegetation nutrient adaptation need to be continued.


Pinus tabulaeformis Carr. Forest ecosystem Content of carbon Nitrogen and phosphorus Ecological stoichiometry Warm temperate zone China 



The authors thank engineer Gao Haiping from the Forestry Bureau in Fangshan County, Shanxi Province, teacher Qu Hong from the Biological College of Beijing Forestry University, and the students Peng Xiaofei, Cao Xiaoyang, Wang Wenjing, Yan Nan, and Shu Xin from the Soil and Water Conservation College for their help during sampling.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ning Wang
    • 1
  • Fengzhen Fu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Baitian Wang
    • 3
  • Ruijun Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.College of AgronomyHeilongjiang Bayi Agricultural UniversityDaqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Daqing Forestry BureauDaqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Soil and Water Conservation SchoolBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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