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Inter-annual Variation in Foliar Nutrient Content of Forage Grass Responses to N Deposition and Prescribed Fire


Plant nutrient concentration and stoichiometry drives the formation of primary productivity, competition and other basic ecological processes in ecosystem such as carbon sequestration and litter decomposition.  


The temporal variation in the responses of plant nutrition to environmental factors including those related to global change affects the sustainability of ecosystem functioning. Till now, much attention has been given to the spatial variability in plant nutrient traits but little is known on their temporal variability, especially its inter-annual variation under the scenarios of global changes. 

Prof. LV Xiaotao and co-workers from Institute of Applied Ecology (IAE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the inter-annual variations in foliar N, P content in three successive years that had various annual precipitation and averaged temperature. 

They also made a research about their responses to N deposition and prescribed fire of dominant plant species in a temperate steppe based on a long-term controlled experimental platform for N deposition and prescribed fire effects in Inner-Mongolia Grassland Research Station. 

The results show that the N, P content and the stoichiometric ratio of N:P significantly varied among years, which was closely related to the precipitation pattern.  

The effects of N deposition and fire on plant nutrient content and N:P ratio varied among years. N addition enhanced the inter-annual stability in N content but decreased the inter-annual stability in N:P ratio.  

The work indicates that the responses of plant nutrition to the experimental treatments would be inconsistent, which is largely dependent on the changes in precipitation and temperature regimes. N deposition not only alters the limitation factors in nutrition, but also turns the plant growth from N limitation to P limitation and possibly result in the instability in plan P content and P stoichiometry.  

The work helps us in understanding the mechanisms of the effect of N deposition on the ecosystem structure and functioning from a plant nutrition perspective.  

The results were published in Biogeochemistry entitled “Temporal Variability of Foliar Nutrients: Responses to Nitrogen Deposition and Prescribed Fire in a Temperate Steppe”.  

The work was supported by National Key Research Project, NNSFC and Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS. 


Nitrogen deposition influenced the interannual stability of plant nutrition(Image by LV Xiaotao).


Full text URL: Temporal variability of foliar nutrients: responses to nitrogen deposition and prescribed fire in a temperate steppe.  

Publication Name: Lü Xiaotao et al.  

Email: lvxiaotao@iae.ac.cn.  



  • Temporal variability of foliar nutrients: responses to nitrogen deposition and prescribed fire in a temperate steppe
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