Effects of drought and nitrogen addition on photosynthetic characteristics and resource allocation of Abies fabri seedlings in eastern Tibetan Plateau
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Abies fabri (Mast.) Craib is an endemic and dominant species in typical sub-alpine dark coniferous forests distributed in mountainous regions of the eastern Tibetan Plateau, China. We investigated the ecophysiological responses of A. fabri seedlings to short-term artificially-applied drought, nitrogen addition alone, and the combination of these treatments. Drought was created by excluding natural precipitation with an automatically controlled plastic roof that covered the seedlings. Nitrogen fertilization was applied weekly by spraying over seedlings with ammonium nitrate solution. Experiment results showed that drought caused a reduction in photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency and leaf mass per area. Nitrogen addition enhanced photosynthetic performance by increasing net photosynthetic rate. In the drought plots, nitrogen addition increased net photosynthetic rate and instantaneous water use efficiency. These results showed that applied nitrogen improved plant water use efficiency and N accumulation in plant organs under drought conditions. Especially under drought conditions more N was concentrated into needles by applied nitrogen as compared with other organs. In conclusion, our results indicated that the combination of nitrogen addition and drought may result in positive effects on A. fabri seedlings in the short-term.
KeywordsC concentration N concentration Net photosynthetic rate Water use efficiency
This research was supported by Knowledge Innovative Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-YW-331-2, KZCX2-EW-309-2) and West Light Talents Training Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y0R2100100, Y0R2130130). We thank Quan Lan, Na Li, Yun Lin, and Guangsheng Liu for providing valuable comments and help. We thank acknowledge all workers of the Alpine Ecosystem Observation and Experiment Station.
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