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Relationships between nitrogen, acid-unhydrolyzable residue, and climate among tree foliar litters

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Using literature data, we investigated coniferous and broadleaf litter from 58 tree species using a database encompassing concentrations of N and acid-unhydrolyzable residue (AUR) (gravimetric lignin) in newly shed litter, mean annual temperature, and mean annual precipitation. Our aims were to (i) demonstrate any large-scale relationships between concentrations of N and AUR in foliar litter and (ii) determine differences in this respect among litter from Pinus and Quercus. To this end, we had collected foliar litter data for Asia and Europe, forming a climate gradient. Litter from broadleaf and coniferous trees differed significantly in concentrations of N (p < 0.0001, 9.64 versus 5.50 mg/g, respectively) and AUR (p < 0.0001, 219 versus 292 mg/g, respectively). There were highly significant positive linear relationships between concentrations of N and AUR for broadleaf (p < 0.0001) and coniferous litter (p < 0.0001). There were also significant positive relationships for AUR as a function of N concentration for the genera Pinus and Quercus but not within species. That for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was negative and that for common oak (Quercus robur L.) not significant.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dongchuan Rd. 800, Shanghai 200240, China; Key Laboratory of Urban Agriculture (South), Ministry of Agriculture, People's Republic of China, Dongchuan Rd. 800, Shanghai 200240, China. 2: Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, PL-30-387 Krakow, Poland. 3: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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