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Long-term drought decreases ecosystem C and nutrient storage in a Mediterranean holm oak forest

Abstract : Aridity has increased in recent decades in the Mediterranean Basin and is projected to continue to increase in the coming decades. We studied the consequences of drought on the concentrations, stoichiometries and stocks of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in leaves, foliar litter of a three dominant woody species and soil of a Mediterranean montane holm oak forest where soil-water content was experimentally reduced (15 % lower than the control plots) for 15 years. Nitrogen stocks were lower in the drought plots than in the control plots (8.81 +/- 1.01 kg ha(-1) in the forest canopy and 856 +/- 120 kg ha(-1) in the 0-15 cm soil layer), thus representing 7 and 18 % lower N stocks in the canopy and soil respectively. delta N-15 was consistently higher under drought conditions in all samples, indicating a general loss of N. Foliar C and K stocks were also lower but to a lesser extent than N. Decreases in biomass and C and N stocks due to drought were smallest for the most dominant tall shrub, Phillyrea latifolia, so our results suggest a lower capacity of this forest to store C and nutrients but also substantial resulting changes in forest structure with increasing drought.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 8:17:23 PM
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Jordi Sardans, Ifigenia Urbina, Oriol Grau, Dolores Asensio, Romà Ogaya, et al.. Long-term drought decreases ecosystem C and nutrient storage in a Mediterranean holm oak forest. Environmental and Experimental Botany, Elsevier, 2020, 177, pp.104135. ⟨10.1016/j.envexpbot.2020.104135⟩. ⟨hal-03193492⟩



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