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Nutrient resorption efficiency of twigs is more vulnerable to warming than that of leaves of Cunninghamia lanceolata seedlings

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Background and aims

Global warming is a major global issue that may affect nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Plants usually employ the strategy of nutrient resorption to conserve resources. Over the past few decades, there has been widespread attention given to how warming affects the nutrient resorption efficiency (NuRE) in leaves. Twig is another important component of plant. The unique physiological characteristics of twig may make its NuRE response to warming different from that of leaf. However, there is insufficient knowledge regarding how warming affects NuRE in twigs.


We assessed the response of nutrient concentrations (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) and NuREs in leaves and twigs to warming, by using plant samples (Cunninghamia lanceolata) from a manipulative field warming experiment (+ 5 °C).


The nutrient concentrations and NuREs of leaves remained unchanged under warming. In contrast, warming significantly decreased nitrogen concentration (− 13%) and increased calcium (+ 21%) and magnesium (+ 44%) concentrations in mature twigs. Warming significantly decreased NRE (− 10%), KRE (− 15%), and CaRE (− 7%), and increased MgRE (+ 12%) in twigs. It was also found that warming decreased the water content of twigs, and there were significant negative correlations between NuREs and nutrients in senesced organs.


The nutrient concentrations and NuRE of twigs are more vulnerable to warming than those of leaves. The regulation of NuRE response to warming is influenced by water and nutrients. Incorporating plant twig NuRE into nutrient cycling modeling and ecosystem productivity predictions may improve the accuracy of predictions under future warming conditions.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32101330, 32192433, and 31988102) and the Opening Foundation of Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education. The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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Authors and Affiliations



Qiufang Zhang, Zhijie Yang, Shidong Chen, Yuehmin Chen and Yusheng Yang conceived and designed the study; Qiufang Zhang and Decheng Xiong collected the samples; Hao Sun, Qiufang Zhang, Jiaojiao Ji analyzed the samples/data and wrote the manuscript; Zhijie Yang, Shidong Chen, Yuehmin Chen and Yusheng Yang revised the manuscript; all authors approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Qiufang Zhang or Yuehmin Chen.

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Responsible Editor: Wenxuan Han.

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Sun, H., Zhang, Q., Yang, Z. et al. Nutrient resorption efficiency of twigs is more vulnerable to warming than that of leaves of Cunninghamia lanceolata seedlings. Plant Soil (2024).

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