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Coexistence of multiple leaf nutrient resorption strategies in a single ecosystem

February 1, 2021

Leaf resorption is critical for considerations of how plants use and recycle nutrients, but fundamental unknowns remain regarding the controls over plant nutrient resorption. Empirical studies suggest at least three basic types of resorption control, including (i) stoichiometric control, (ii) nutrient limitation control, and (iii) nutrient concentration control strategies. However, which strategies are adopted in given conditions and whether multiple strategies coexist in an ecosystem are still open questions. To address these unknowns, leaf nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) resorption efficiency (NRE and PRE) and proficiency were measured for seven woody species at a nutrient-rich but potentially N-limited secondary forest and a nutrient-poor and potentially P-limited secondary forest. NRE was higher in the N-limited forest while PRE was higher in the P-limited forest, suggesting that plants responded to nutrient limitation with preferential resorption of the more limiting nutrient. NRE:PRE was positively related to leaf N:P ratios within each forest, demonstrating a role for stoichiometric control. Nutrient concentration controls were also found, with higher nutrient resorption proficiency in the nutrient-poor forest than in the nutrient-rich forest. The controls of stoichiometry and nutrient concentration were community-wide, but the nutrient limitation control was species-specific. Our results highlight the coexistence of multiple nutrient resorption strategies in a single ecosystem, and suggest these strategies are scale-dependent.

Publication Year 2021
Title Coexistence of multiple leaf nutrient resorption strategies in a single ecosystem
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.144951
Authors Chen Hao, Sasha C. Reed, Xiaotao Lü, Kongcao Xiao, Kelin Wang, Dejun Li
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Environment
Index ID 70224587
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center