Changes in nutrient use efficiency, status and retranslocation in young post-fire regeneration Pinus halepensis in response to sudden N and P input, irrigation and removal of competing vegetation

Sardans J., Peñuelas J., Rodà F. (2005) Changes in nutrient use efficiency, status and retranslocation in young post-fire regeneration Pinus halepensis in response to sudden N and P input, irrigation and removal of competing vegetation. Trees - Structure and Function. 19: 233-250.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00468-004-0374-3

Resumen:

The capacity of Mediterranean species to adapt to variable nutrient supply levels in a global change context can be a key factor to predict their future capacity to compete and survive in this new scenario. We aimed to investigate the capacity of a typical Mediterranean tree species, Pinus halepensis, to respond to sudden changes in N and P supply in different environmental conditions. We conducted a fertilisation, irrigation and removal of competing vegetation experiment in a calcareous post-fire shrubland with an homogeneous young (5 years old) population of P. halepensis in order to investigate the retranslocation and nutrient status for the principal nutrients (N, P, Mg, K, S, Ca and Fe), and the nutrient use efficiency (NUE) of the most important nutrients linked to photosynthetic capacity (N, P, Mg and K). P fertilisation increased P concentration in needles, P, N, Mg and K retranslocations, and NUE calculated as biomass production per unit of nutrient lost in the litterfall. The P fertilisation was able to increase the aboveground biomasses and P concentration 3 years after P fertiliser application. Those responses to P fertilisation were enhanced by the removal of competing vegetation. The N needle and litterfall concentration decreased after P fertilisation and this effect was greater when the P fertilisation was accompanied by removal of competing vegetation. The increase of P availability decreased the P-NUE and increased the N-NUE when these variables were calculated as aboveground biomass production per unit of P present in the biomass. Both P-NUE and N-NUE increased when calculated as total aboveground production per unit of nutrient loss. The results show that it is necessary to calculate NUE on a different basis to have a wider understanding of nutrient use. The irrigation did not change the needle nutrient concentrations and the litterfall production, but it significantly changed the nutrient litterfall concentrations and total aboveground contents (especially P and K). These results show a high capacity of P. halepensis to quickly respond to a limiting nutrient such as P in the critical phases of post-fire regeneration. The increase in P availability had a positive effect on growth and P concentrations and contents in aboveground biomass, thus increasing the capacity of growth in future periods and avoiding immediate runoff losses and leachate. This capacity also strongly depends on neighbour competition. © Springer-Verlag 2005.

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Effects of water and a nutrient pulse supply on Rosmarinus officinalis growth, nutrient content and flowering in the field

Sardans J., Rodà F., Peñuelas J. (2005) Effects of water and a nutrient pulse supply on Rosmarinus officinalis growth, nutrient content and flowering in the field. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 53: 1-11.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2004.02.007

Resumen:

Rosmarinus officinalis is a dominant shrub species of calcareous Mediterranean communities that has increased its presence in wide areas due to fire frequency increase and field abandonment. We aimed to study the capacity of adult shrubs to respond to nutrient pulses such as those produced by fires and human driven eutrophycation. In a 5 years old post-fire Mediterranean shrubland we conducted an experiment to investigate the effects of irrigation and N and P fertilisation on the growth, nutrient status and flowering effort of adult plants of the dominant shrub R. officinalis in a post-fire shrubland. The responses were monitored during the immediate 3 years after fertilisation. P fertilisation increased plant growth, produced a great increase in P aerial mineralomass and P concentration in leaf and stems and had a slight positive effect on flowering effort. Irrigation increased plant growth, but did not have significant effects on nutrient contents and flowering. The results show that adult individuals of the Mediterranean shrub R. officinalis have a notable capacity to positively respond in growth and in nutritional status to a sudden increase of the limiting nutrient, in this case P, and in a lesser extent, to an increase of water supply. These capacities may be important under the more unpredictable nutrient and water availability conditions expected for the near future; they will allow to take advantage of the pulses of higher nutrient and water availability in the middle of dry periods, thus increasing the community capacity to improve the nutrient retention in the ecosystem. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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