Comparison of the nutrient resorption stoichiometry of Quercus variabilis Blume growing in two sites contrasting in soil phosphorus content

Foliar phosphorus (P) resorption in Quercus variabilis Blume was significantly lower at a P-rich than at a P-deficient site. Moreover, P resorption strongly decreased, and nitrogen:phosphorus and carbon:phosphorus resorption ratios increased with soil P content. This demonstrates a strong link between foliar P resorption and P content in soils, and emphasizes the importance of P resorption in leaves of trees growing in soils with contrasted P content.

Context Subtropical ecosystems are generally characterized by P-deficient soils. However, P-rich soils develop in phosphate rock areas.
Aims We compared the patterns of nutrient resorption, in terms of ecological stoichiometry, for two sites naturally varying in soil P content.
Methods The resorption efficiency (percentage of a nutrient recovered from senescing leaves) and proficiency (level to which nutrient concentration is reduced in senesced leaves) of 12 elements were determined in two oak (Q. variabilis) populations growing at a P-rich or a P-deficient site in subtropical China.
Results P resorption efficiency dominated the intraspecific variation in nutrient resorption between the two sites. Q. variabilis exhibited a low P resorption at the P-rich site and a high P resorption at the P-deficient site. Both P resorption efficiency and proficiency strongly decreased with soil P content only and were positively related to the N:P and C:P ratios in green and senesced leaves. Moreover, resorption efficiency ratios of both N:P and C:P were positively associated with soil P.
Conclusion These results revealed a strong link between P resorption and P stoichiometry in response to a P deficiency in the soil, and a single- and limiting-element control pattern of P resorption. Hence, these results provide new insights into the role of P resorption in plant adaptations to geologic variations of P in the subtropics.

Phosphate rocks, Ecological stoichiometry, Oak, Leaves, Subtropics, Nutrient resorption, Quercus variabilis

Ji, H., Wen, J., Du, B. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 59.

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