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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (6): 935-947    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0019-6
Research Articles     
Leaf N and P stoichiometry of 57 plant species in the Karamori Mountain Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China
TAO Ye1,2, WU Ganlin1, ZHANG Yuanming2*, ZHOU Xiaobing2
1 College of Life Sciences, The Province Key Laboratory of the Biodiversity Study and Ecology Conservation in Southwest Anhui, Anqing Normal University, Anqing 246133, China;
2 Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
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Abstract  Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the major nutrients that constrain plant growth and development, as well as the structure and function of ecosystems. Hence, leaf N and P patterns can contribute to a deep understanding of plant nutrient status, nutrient limitation type of ecosystems, plant life-history strategy and differentiation of functional groups. However, the status and pattern of leaf N and P stoichiometry in N-deficiency desert ecosystems remain unclear. Under this context, the leaf samples from 57 plant species in the Karamori Mountain Ungulate Nature Reserve, eastern Junggar Desert, China were investigated and the patterns and interrelations of leaf N and P were comparatively analyzed. The results showed that the average leaf N concentration, P concentration, and N:P ratio were 30.81 mg/g, 1.77 mg/g and 17.72, respectively. This study found that the leaf N concentration and N:P ratio were significantly higher than those of studies conducted at global, national and regional scales; however, the leaf P concentration was at moderate level. Leaf N concentration was allometrically correlated with leaf P and N:P ratio across all species. Leaf N, P concentrations and N:P ratio differed to a certain extent among plant functional groups. C4 plants and shrubs, particularly shrubs with assimilative branches, showed an obviously lower P concentration than those of C3 plants, herbs and shrubs without assimilative branches. Shrubs with assimilative branches also had lower N concentration. Fabaceae plants had the highest leaf N, P concentrations (as well as Asteraceae) and N:P ratio; other families had a similar N, P-stoichiometry. The soil in this study was characterized by a lack of N (total N:P ratio was 0.605), but had high N availability compared with P (i.e. the available N:P ratio was 1.86). This might explain why plant leaves had high N concentration (leaf N:P ratio>16). In conclusion, the desert plants in the extreme environment in this study have formed their intrinsic and special stoichiometric characteristics in relation to their life-history strategy.

Key wordsrangeland degradation      flock mobility      overgrazing      sustainable rangeland management      drylands      land tenure     
Received: 23 January 2016      Published: 01 December 2016

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41201056), the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB954202), the West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XBBS-2014-20) and the Program of Joint Foundation of the National Natural Science Foundation and the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China (U1503101).

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Cite this article:

TAO Ye, WU Ganlin, ZHANG Yuanming, ZHOU Xiaobing. Leaf N and P stoichiometry of 57 plant species in the Karamori Mountain Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(6): 935-947.

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