Editor: Greg Jordan
Tree growth changes with climate and forest type are associated with relative allocation of nutrients, especially phosphorus, to leaves and wood
Article first published online: 22 NOV 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 494–507, April 2013
How to Cite
Sardans, J. and Peñuelas, J. (2013), Tree growth changes with climate and forest type are associated with relative allocation of nutrients, especially phosphorus, to leaves and wood. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 22: 494–507. doi: 10.1111/geb.12015
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 22 NOV 2012
- Spanish Government. Grant Numbers: CGL2006-04025/BOS, CGL2010-17172/BOS
- Consolider-Ingenio Montes. Grant Number: CSD2008-00040
- Catalan Government. Grant Number: SGR 2009-458
- Ecological stoichiometry;
- growth rate hypothesis;
- Iberian Peninsula;
- nutrient allocation;
- nutrient stoichiometry;
To test our hypothesis that trees change the allocation and the proportion of different nutrients between leaves and wood to maximize growth along climatic gradients.
Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula.
We tested the relationships of total forest nutrient content, stoichiometry and allocation between leaves and wood in trees with growth along environmental gradients using data from the Catalan Forest Inventory and a suite of multivariate mixed models, ANOVAs and principal components analyses.
The aboveground growth of trees and the nutrient content of leaves and wood were positively correlated with mean annual precipitation (MAP). The changes in C:nutrient ratios were proportionally higher in leaves than in wood, mainly in deciduous forests. Higher MAP was also related to a lower N:P content ratio in leaves and wood but was not related to a greater allocation of P than N in leaves relative to wood (N:PL/W). Conifers, which presented the highest relative aboveground growth, had the lowest N:PL/W (0.99 ± 0.02), whereas the slow-growing evergreens had the highest N:PL/W (2.26 ± 0.23).
In all forest types, growth was related to a higher allocation of nutrients to leaves than to wood, especially of P, coinciding with better climatic conditions for growth (higher MAP in this Mediterranean context). The highest rates of growth were linked to the lowest N:P ratios. The allocation of P relative to N in leaves is higher in conifers than in evergreen and deciduous trees.