Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 699–708 | Cite as

Biomass and nutrient allocation strategies in a desert ecosystem in the Hexi Corridor, northwest China

  • Ke Zhang
  • YongZhong Su
  • Rong Yang
Regular Paper


The allocation of biomass and nutrients in plants is a crucial factor in understanding the process of plant structures and dynamics to different environmental conditions. In this study, we present a comprehensive scaling analysis of data from a desert ecosystem to determine biomass and nutrient (carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P)) allocation strategies of desert plants from 40 sites in the Hexi Corridor. We found that the biomass and levels of C, N, and P storage were higher in shoots than in roots. Roots biomass and nutrient storage were concentrated at a soil depth of 0–30 cm. Scaling relationships of biomass, C storage, and P storage between shoots and roots were isometric, but that of N storage was allometric. Results of a redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that soil nutrient densities were the primary factors influencing biomass and nutrient allocation, accounting for 94.5% of the explained proportion. However, mean annual precipitation was the primary factor influencing the roots biomass/shoots biomass (R/S) ratio. Furthermore, Pearson’s correlations and regression analyses demonstrated that although the biomass and nutrients that associated with functional traits primarily depended on soil conditions, mean annual precipitation and mean annual temperature had greater effects on roots biomass and nutrient storage.


Plant biomass Allocation strategies Desert ecosystem Hexi Corridor 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 91425302, 41401337).

Supplementary material

10265_2017_940_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1634 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS/Key Laboratory of Eco-Hydrology in Inland River BasinCASLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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