Tree species identity drives nutrient use efficiency in young mixed‐species plantations, at both high and low water availability - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Functional Ecology Year : 2022

Tree species identity drives nutrient use efficiency in young mixed‐species plantations, at both high and low water availability

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that tree species diversity increases productivity and may enhance nutrient cycling in forests. The effect of mixing tree species on stand-level nutrient use efficiency (NutUE) has seldom been studied, and even less so in the context of climate change. Here we present the first study examining how diversity effects on NutUE may be modified by growing season water availability (low vs. high), and importantly, during periodic drought or on water-limited sites. We tested the interaction of water availability and tree species diversity (i.e. species richness and species identity) on NutUE in two young, experimental plantations located in south-western France (ORPHEE), and northern Ontario, Canada (IDENT-SSM). We calculated stand-level NutUE as above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) divided by the product of litterfall mass and macronutrient concentrations, of monocultures and mixed tree communities composed of several temperate tree species, with a focus on birch and pine at both sites. We found significant species richness and water availability effects on NutUE, but they were weakly and inconsistently expressed, detected only for specific nutrients, and differed between the two sites. Species identity had much stronger effects on NutUE when examined using the birch-pine plots at both sites. At ORPHEE, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) were significantly greater in the birch-pine mixture than in each monoculture. This was due to an increase in ANPP coupled with a decrease in litter nutrient concentrations in the two-species plot that was driven by the dominance of pine in the mixture. In the comparatively younger, denser plots at IDENT-SSM, birch was the dominant species that resulted in positive mixing effects on ANPP and litter nutrient concentrations and a neutral effect of mixing on NUE and PUE in the birch-pine mixture. Overall, the effects of mixing did not differ with water availability treatments, suggesting that species composition of mixtures is more important than water availability for stand-level NutUE in these young forest communities.
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hal-03745508 , version 1 (04-08-2022)

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Tania L Maxwell, Nicolas Fanin, William C Parker, Mark Bakker, Ariane Belleau, et al.. Tree species identity drives nutrient use efficiency in young mixed‐species plantations, at both high and low water availability. Functional Ecology, 2022, 36 (8), pp.2069 - 2083. ⟨10.1111/1365-2435.14109⟩. ⟨hal-03745508⟩
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