Seasonal variation in N uptake strategies in the understorey of a beech-dominated N-limited forest ecosystem depends on N source and species

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

In forest ecosystems, species use different strategies to increase their competitive ability for nitrogen (N) acquisition. The acquisition of N by trees is regulated by tree internal and environmental factors including mycorrhizae. In this study, we investigated the N uptake strategies of three co-occurring tree species [European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) and Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.)] in the understorey of a beech-dominated, N-limited forest on calcareous soil over two consecutive seasons. For this purpose, we studied 15N uptake capacity as well as the allocation to N pools in the fine roots. Our results show that European beech had a higher capacity for both inorganic and organic N acquisition throughout the whole growing season compared with sycamore maple and Norway maple. The higher capacity of N acquisition in beech indicates a better adaption of beech to the understorey conditions of beech forests compared with the seedlings of other tree competitors under N-limited conditions. Despite these differences, all three species preferred organic over inorganic N sources throughout the growing season and showed similar seasonal patterns of N acquisition with an increased N uptake capacity in summer. However, this pattern varied with N source and year indicating that other environmental factors not assessed in this study further influenced N acquisition by the seedlings of the three tree species.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles