Non-structural carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus between black locust and chinese pine plantations along a precipitation gradient on the Loess Plateau, China
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No soil nutrient differences between two plantations. In contrast to NSC, N and P concentrations were greater in black locust than in Chinese pine. NSC negatively, N and P positively related to precipitation for both plantations.
Precipitation is a key environmental factor affecting carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) status of plants and soils, especially in water-limited regions. However, there are potential differences among species in their sensitivity to C, N, and P in relation to variation in precipitation. We presented paired measurements of non-structural carbon (NSC), N, and P concentrations in plantations of N-fixing black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) and coniferous Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis Carrière) along a mean annual precipitation gradient on the Loess Plateau, China. The results showed that soil nutrients positively related to precipitation, but their differences between two plantations were not clearly visible. NSC concentrations of tree tissues were significantly greater in Chinese pine than in black locust. In contrast, the N and P concentrations and the N:P ratios were significantly greater in black locust than in Chinese pine. Leaves contained the highest N and P concentrations, whereas coarse roots contained the highest NSC concentrations. The lowest concentrations of NSC were in the stem wood. NSC concentrations were negatively related to precipitation, while N and P concentrations were positively related to precipitation for both tree plantations. The constant leaf N:P ratios indicated that the growth of Chinese pine was limited by the soil N supply, whereas black locust was limited by P. These results indicate that inherent physiological and biological processes differ with tree species, and when coupled with environmental conditions, influence the variations of C, N, and P in plant tissues to adaptation and resilience under drought stress.
KeywordsDrought Plant stoichiometry Precipitation Starch Sugar
This research was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41201088 and 41771556), and National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC0501703 and 2017YFC0504605), and CAS “Light of West China” Program (XAB201702). The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions made by Christian J. Rivera (Princeton University, USA) regarding the English language revision of the manuscript.
Author contribution statement
YC and YC designed the experiments. YC and YL carried out the experiments. YC wrote the manuscript with contributions from YL and YC.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
There are no conflicts of interest to declare.
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