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Inter-Annual and Seasonal Variation of ANPP and Leaf Nutrient Concentration in Cold-Temperate Wetlands of Tierra del Fuego

Abstract

We investigated the inter-annual and seasonal variation of the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), and leaf nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations across two different types of wet meadows (spring-fed and riparian) in Tierra del Fuego Island, Southern Patagonia. In addition, we estimated grazing effects on ANPP, the nature of nutrient limitation, and the resorption efficiencies for both nutrients. ANPP showed a high inter-annual variation (CV = 49–57%), typical seasonal dynamics with a summer peak, and higher annual means at the spring-fed meadows (532 g∙m−2∙yr.−1) compared to the riparian meadows (310 g∙m−2∙yr.−1) with a higher contribution of graminoids (50–65%). Sheep grazing reduced a 66% the annual mean of ANPP (108 g∙m−2∙yr.−1) in riparian meadows. Leaf nitrogen concentrations were similar to reported values for graminoids from temperate and cold regions (1.5–2.5%), while leaf phosphorus concentrations were markedly higher (0.2–0.3%), indicating a nitrogen limitation. Resorption efficiency was 54.2% for nitrogen and 48.2% for phosphorus, exhibiting incomplete resorption proficiency for both nutrients. Our results represent valuable information to design sustainable management strategies for wetlands according to their spatial and temporal variation, and to define a baseline of vegetation functioning to assess the impact of climate change in high-latitude southern ecosystems.

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Acknowledgements

We thank to the owners of María Behety Ranch to permit conduct our experiments in their property. We also thank to Mr. José Bonilla for their field assistance and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which greatly improved the original manuscript. The studies reported in this manuscript comply with the current laws of the Republic of Argentina. This work was supported by grants from the Agencia Nacional de Promoción de Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 1998-3458 and 141-1998/03), and the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (PMT-SID 0403 and PIP-0265).

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Cipriotti, P.A., Collantes, M.B., Rauber, R.B. et al. Inter-Annual and Seasonal Variation of ANPP and Leaf Nutrient Concentration in Cold-Temperate Wetlands of Tierra del Fuego. Wetlands 38, 37–49 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-017-0955-8

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Keywords

  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Grazing
  • High-latitude ecosystems
  • Meadows
  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, productivity
  • Resorption efficiency