Plant and Soil

, Volume 424, Issue 1–2, pp 479–489 | Cite as

Foliar nutrient resorption responses of three life-form plants to water and nitrogen additions in a temperate desert

  • Gang Huang
  • Yan-gui Su
  • Xiao-han Mu
  • Yan Li
Regular Article


Background and aims

How nitrogen deposition and increasing precipitation would affect leaf nutrient concentration and internal nutrient cycling of desert plants is still unclear. The aim of our study was to test the responses of leaf nutrient resorption to increasing precipitation and N enrichment in a temperate desert.


Green and senesced leaf nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, and nitrogen (NRE) and phosphorus (PRE) resorption efficiency of three life-form plants (5 spring annuals, 2 summer annuals and 2 shrubs) were investigated.


Both NRE and PRE showed remarkable variations among plant life-forms, being lowest in shrubs and highest in spring annuals, suggesting that plants may have different nutrient requiring strategies. Nitrogen addition promoted green and senesced leaf nitrogen concentrations in summer annuals and shrubs, while having no impacts on leaf phosphorus concentration, NRE and PRE. Water addition had no impacts on leaf nutrient concentration and resorption efficiency; combined nitrogen and water addition had no interactive effects.


Our results suggest that spring annuals and shrubs exhibit conservative nutrient adaptation through increasing nutrient uptake but not changing nutrient internal cycle to increasing nitrogen and water.


Nitrogen addition N and P in herbaceous leaves Nutrient resorption efficiency Temperate desert Water addition 



We greatly appreciate two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on our paper, we thank Ming-fang Hu in the Department of Oasis and Desert for soil data analysis, staffs in Fukang Station of Desert Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences for laboratory assay; Dr. Bing Wang and Yan Feng Cao for field work assistance. This work was sponsored by the Chinese National Natural Scientific Foundation (U1703332), Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS (QYZDJ-SSW-DQC014), Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions (QN2016YX0275), and Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS (2016381).

Supplementary material

11104_2017_3551_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Lab of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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