Plantations modified leaf elemental stoichiometry compared to the native shrub community in karst areas, Southwest of China

Abstract

Key message

Nutrient limitation changed from N–P co-limitation in the native shrubs to N limitation in the plantations.

Abstract

Element stoichiometry is a powerful tool to examine plant–soil nutrient feedbacks. In karst ecosystems, southwest China, afforestation has been widely adopted to restore soil fertility and enhance ecosystem functioning under degraded native shrub stands. However, it is unclear whether and how multiple-element stoichiometry of plants in afforested forests would differ from the native shrub community. We investigated the concentrations of C, N, S, P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, Fe, Al, Cu, Zn, and Mn in leaves and soils in native shrub community and three plantations (Pinus yunnanensis, Alnus japonica, and Platycladus orientalis). We found (1) There was significant discrimination in leaf elemental compositions between native shrub community and plantations in the karst region, southwest China. Native shrubs had lower leaf N, P, S and higher C, Ca, and Mg concentrations, as well as C:P and N:P ratios, compared to plantations; (2) For different plant species, grasses had higher P, K, and Na and lower C:P and N:K, compared to trees and shrubs; (3) N:P, K and S concentrations differed most between the native shrubs and plantations; (4) N:P in native shrubs was close to 12 while decreased to 11.3, 10.2 and 9.7 in three plantations. These results suggest that plantations strongly changed the elemental stoichiometry of native shrub communities in the karst region. N:P, Ca:Mg, K and S are key indicators for plant nutrient status in the study area. P limitation alleviates in plantations compared to native shrubs. Our study could be used to guide reforestation and improve ecosystem functioning in the karst region, Southwest China.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Aerts R (1995) The advantages of being evergreen. Trends Ecol Evol 10:402

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bai K, Lv S, Ning S, Zeng D, Guo Y, Wang B (2019) Leaf nutrient concentrations associated with phylogeny, leaf habit and soil chemistry in tropical karst seasonal rainforest tree species. Plant Soil 434:305–326

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Beaupied H, Moiroud A, Domenach A-M, Kurdali F, Lensi R (1990) Ratio of fixed and assimilated nitrogen in a black alder (Alnus glutinosa) stand. Can J For Res 20:1116–1119

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bormann B, Sidle RC (1990) Changes in productivity and distribution of nutrients in a chronosequence at Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. J Ecol 561–578

  5. Dahlquist RL, Knoll JW (1978) Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry: analysis of biological materials and soils for major trace, and ultra-trace elements. Appl Spectrosc 32:1–30

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Davidson EA et al (2007) Recuperation of nitrogen cycling in Amazonian forests following agricultural abandonment. Nature 447:995–998

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Doust JL (2010) A comparative study of life history and resource allocation in selected Umbelliferae. Biol J Linn Soc 13:139–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Du Y, Pan G, Li L, Hu Z, Wang X (2011) Leaf N/P ratio and nutrient reuse between dominant species and stands: predicting phosphorus deficiencies in Karst ecosystems, southwestern China. Environ Earth Sci 64:299–309

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Elser JJ et al (2000) Nutritional constraints in terrestrial and freshwater food webs. Nature 408:578

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Elser JJ et al (2007) Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10:1135–1142

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ford D, Williams PD (2013) Karst hydrogeology and geomorphology. Wiley, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  12. Garten CT (1976) Correlations between concentrations of elements in plants. Nature 261:686–688

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Geekiyanage N, Goodale UM, Cao K, Kitajima K (2019) Plant ecology of tropical and subtropical karst ecosystems. Biotropica 51:626–640

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Güsewell S (2004) N: P ratios in terrestrial plants: variation and functional significance. New Phytol 164:243–266

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Han W, Fang J, Guo D, Zhang Y (2005) Leaf nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry across 753 terrestrial plant species in China. New Phytol 168:377

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. He J-S, Wang L, Flynn DF, Wang X, Ma W, Fang J (2008) Leaf nitrogen: phosphorus stoichiometry across Chinese grassland biomes. Oecologia 155:301–310

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hofmeister J, Mihaljevič M, Hošek J, Sádlo J (2002) Eutrophication of deciduous forests in the Bohemian Karst (Czech Republic): the role of nitrogen and phosphorus. For Ecol Manag 169:213–230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Huang Y, Li Q (2019) Karst biogeochemistry in China: past, present and future. Environ Earth Sci 78(15):450

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Huang W, Liu J, Wang YP, Zhou G, Han T, Li Y (2013) Increasing phosphorus limitation along three successional forests in southern China. Plant Soil 364:181–191

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Jiang Y, Song M, Zhang S, Cai Z, Lei Y (2018) Unravelling community assemblages through multi-element stoichiometry in plant leaves and roots across primary successional stages in a glacier retreat area. Plant soil 428(1–2):291–305

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kang M, Wang J, Huang H (2015) Nitrogen limitation as a driver of genome size evolution in a group of karst plants. Sci Rep 5:1–8

    Google Scholar 

  22. Karimi R, Folt CL (2006) Beyond macronutrients: element variability and multielement stoichiometry in freshwater invertebrates. Ecol Lett 9:1273–1283

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Koerselman W (1996) The Vegetation N: P Ratio: a new tool to detect the nature of nutrient limitation. J Appl Ecol 33:1441–1450

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. LeGrand H (1973) Hydrological and ecological problems of karst regions: hydrological actions on limestone regions cause distinctive ecological problems. Science 179:859–864

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Li D, Wen L, Jiang S, Song T, Wang K (2018) Responses of soil nutrients and microbial communities to three restoration strategies in a karst area, southwest China. J Environ Manag 207:456–464

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Liu C, Liu Y, Guo K, Wang S, Yang Y (2014) Concentrations and resorption patterns of 13 nutrients in different plant functional types in the karst region of south-western China. Ann Bot 113:873–885

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Lu X, Toda H, Ding F, Fang S, Yang W, Xu H (2014) Effect of vegetation types on chemical and biological properties of soils of karst ecosystems. Eur J Soil Biol 61:49–57

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Markert B (1994) Environmental sampling for trace analysis.

  29. Medina E, Cuevas E, Lugo AE (2017) Substrate chemistry and rainfall regime regulate elemental composition of tree leaves in karst forests. Forests 8:182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mengel K, Kirkby EA, Kosegarten H, Appel T (1982) Principles of Plant Nutrition. International Potash Institute

  31. Nordin A, Högberg P, Näsholm T (2001) Soil nitrogen form and plant nitrogen uptake along a boreal forest productivity gradient. Oecologia 129:125–132

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Olde Venterink H, Wassen M, Verkroost A, De Ruiter P (2003) Species richness–productivity patterns differ between N- P-, and K-limited wetlands. Ecology 84:2191–2199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Pan F, Zhang W, Liu S, Li D, Wang K (2015) Leaf N: P stoichiometry across plant functional groups in the karst region of southwestern China. Trees 29:883–892

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Pang D, Wang G, Li G, Sun Y, Liu Y, Zhou J (2018) Ecological stoichiometric characteristics of two typical plantations in the Karst ecosystem of southwestern China. Forests 9:56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Porter WM, Robson AD, Abbott LK (1987) Field survey of the distribution of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in relation to soil pH. J Appl Ecol 24:659

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Qi X, Wang K, Zhang C (2013) Effectiveness of ecological restoration projects in a karst region of southwest China assessed using vegetation succession mapping. Ecol Eng 54:245–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Reich PB, Oleksyn J (2004) Global patterns of plant leaf N and P in relation to temperature and latitude. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:11001

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Rossatto DR, Carvalho FA, Haridasan M (2015) Soil and leaf nutrient content of tree species support deciduous forests on limestone outcrops as a eutrophic ecosystem. Acta Bot Brasílica 29:231–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Saha AK, Lobo O’Reilly Sternberg LdS, Miralles-Wilhelm F (2009) Linking water sources with foliar nutrient status in upland plant communities in the Everglades National Park USA. Ecohydrology 2:42–54

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Seo KW, Heo SJ, Son Y, Noh NJ, Lee SY, Yoon CG (2011) Soil moisture condition and soil nitrogen dynamics in a pure Alnus japonica forest in Korea. Landsc Ecol Eng 7(1):93–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Song T (2015) Plants and environment in karst areas of Southwest China, first ed, Beijing

  42. Townsend AR, Cleveland CC, Asner GP, Bustamante MMC (2007) Controls over foliar n:p ratios in tropical rain forests. Ecology 88:107–118

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Townsend AR, Cleveland CC, Houlton BZ, Alden CB, White JWC (2011) Multi-element regulation of the tropical forest carbon cycle. Front Ecol Environ 9(1):9–17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Uliassi DD, Ruess RW (2002) Limitations to symbiotic nitrogen fixation in primary succession on the Tanana River floodplain. Ecology 83:88–103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Umair M et al (2020) Differential stoichiometric responses of shrubs and grasses to increased precipitation in a degraded karst ecosystem in Southwestern China. Sci Total Environ 700:134421

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Vitousek PM, Walker LR, Whiteaker LD, Matson PA (1993) Nutrient limitations to plant growth during primary succession in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Biogeochemistry 23:197–215

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Vitousek PM, Porder S, Houlton BZ, Chadwick OA (2010) Terrestrial phosphorus limitation: mechanisms, implications, and nitrogen–phosphorus interactions. Ecol Appl 20:5

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Wei X, Deng X, Xiang W, Lei P, Ouyang S, Wen H, Chen L (2018) Calcium content and high calcium adaptation of plants in karst areas of southwestern Hunan, China. Biogeosciences 15:2991

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Wen J, Ji H, Sun N, Tao H, Du B, Hui D, Liu C (2018) Imbalanced plant stoichiometry at contrasting geologic-derived phosphorus sites in subtropics: the role of microelements and plant functional group. Plant Soil 430(1–2):113–125

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wrb IWG (2014) World Reference Base for soil resources 2014: international soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps.

  51. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Westoby M, Ackerly DD, Baruch Z, Bongers F, Flexas J (2004) The worldwide leaf economics spectrum. Nature 428(6985):821–827

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Cornelissen JH, Falster DS, Garnier E, Hikosaka K, Poorter H (2005) Assessing the generality of global leaf trait relationships. New Phytol 166(2):485–496

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Atkin OK, Lusk CH, Tjoelker MG, Westoby M (2006) Irradiance, temperature and rainfall influence leaf dark respiration in woody plants: evidence from comparisons across 20 sites. New Phytol 169(2):309–319

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Xue L, Ren H, Li S, Leng X, Yao X (2017) Soil bacterial community structure and co-occurrence pattern during vegetation restoration in karst rocky desertification area. Front Microbiol 8:2377

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Zhang W, Zhao J, Pan F, Li D, Chen H, Wang K (2015) Changes in nitrogen and phosphorus limitation during secondary succession in a karst region in southwest China. Plant Soil 391:77–91

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Zhang H, Wang K, Zeng Z, Du H, Zeng F (2017) Biomass and carbon sequestration by Juglans regia plantations in the Karst regions of Southwest China. Forests 8:103

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was funded by National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC0505501).

Funding

This work was funded by National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC0505501).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chunjiang Liu.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

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.

Data availability statement

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Ethical Standards

We don’t have experiments on animals or human subjects. All experiments follow the laws in the current country.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Communicated by Lee Kalcsits.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (DOCX 412 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wen, J., Tao, H., Du, B. et al. Plantations modified leaf elemental stoichiometry compared to the native shrub community in karst areas, Southwest of China. Trees (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-021-02096-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Karst ecosystem
  • Plantation forest
  • Native shrub
  • Multiple elements
  • Stoichiometry
  • Nutrient limitation