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

  • Huawei Ji
  • Jiahao Wen
  • Baoming Du
  • Ningxiao Sun
  • Björn Berg
  • Chunjiang LiuEmail author
Research Paper


Key message

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.


Subtropical ecosystems are generally characterized by P-deficient soils. However, P-rich soils develop in phosphate rock areas.


We compared the patterns of nutrient resorption, in terms of ecological stoichiometry, for two sites naturally varying in soil P content.


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.


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.


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 



We thank the Instrumental Analysis Center of Shanghai Jiao Tong University for the support on chemical analysis.


This study was funded by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC0502501) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31670626, No. 31270640, and No. 31070532).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_727_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (189 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 189 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huawei Ji
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiahao Wen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Baoming Du
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ningxiao Sun
    • 1
    • 3
  • Björn Berg
    • 4
    • 5
  • Chunjiang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Biology and Research Centre for Low-Carbon AgricultureShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Urban Forest Research StationState Forestry AdministrationBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Urban Agriculture (South)Ministry of AgricultureBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Forest EcologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Section of BiologyUniversity of GävleGävleSweden

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