Contrasting nitrogen and phosphorus resorption efficiencies in trees and lianas from a tropical montane rain forest in Xishuangbanna South-west China.
Cai Z-Q; Bongers F
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Tropical montane rain forest is widely considered to be a highly threatened hotspot of global diversity (Brummitt & Nic Lughadha 2003) and one of the least understood humid tropical forest ecosystems in terms of nutrient cycling (Bruijnzeel & Proctor 1995). There is therefore an urgent need to improve our understanding of nutrient cycling processes in this ecosystem including the absorption of nutrients (mainly N and P) from senescing leaves which may be a key component of adaptive mechanisms that conserve limiting nutrients (Killingbeck 1996). Nutrients which are not resorbed however will be circulated through litterfall in the longer term (Aerts 1996). The degree of nutrient resorption affects litter quality which consequently affects decomposition rates and soil nutrient availability (Aerts & Chapin 2000). The importance of resorption in nutrient conservation has led to general hypotheses that species adapted to nutrient-poor environments have high resorption efficiencies (Richardson et al. 2005) and that low leaf nutrient concentrations are associated with high resorption efficiencies within species (Aerts 1996 Kobe et al. 2005). Nutrient resorption has also been shown not to differ greatly between growth forms (e.g. shrubs grasses forbs and trees) (Aerts 1996). However its relative importance among plant functional groups is still highly controversial (Richardson et al. 2005).