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Forests 2018, 9(6), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060297

Spatial Variation in Leaf Stable Carbon Isotope Composition of Three Caragana Species in Northern China

1
Institute of Environmental Engineering, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
2
Ningxia (China-Arab) Key Laboratory of Resource Assessment and Environmental Regulation in Arid Regions, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
3
School of Life Science, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
4
College of Resources and Environmental Science, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Abstract

Leaf stable carbon isotope (δ13C) composition provides comprehensive insight into plant carbon cycles and water use efficiency and has also been widely used to evaluate the response of plants to environmental change. In the present study, leaf δ13C was analyzed in samples of Caragana microphylla Lam., C. liouana Zhao, and C. korshinskii Kom. from 38 populations. These species provide great environmental benefits and economic value and are distributed east to west continuously across northern China. We studied the relationship of δ13C to altitude, mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), mean annual relative humidity (RH), leaf nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations to examine the patterns and controls of leaf δ13C variation in each species. Results indicated that, across the three species, leaf δ13C significantly decreased with MAP, RH, and leaf N and P concentrations, while it increased with altitude and MAT. However, patterns and environmental controls of leaf δ13C varied proportionally with species. C. korshinskii was mainly controlled by MAP and leaf N concentration, C. liouana was controlled by both MAT and MAP, and C. microphylla was mainly controlled by MAT. Further analysis indicated significant differences in leaf δ13C between species, which tended to increase from C. microphylla to C. korshinskii. Overall, these results suggest that the three Caragana species may respond differently to future climate change due to different controlling factors on leaf δ13C variation, as well as differentiation in water use efficiency, which likely contributes to the geographical distribution of these species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Caragana; carbon isotope composition; mean annual precipitation; mean annual temperature; relative humidity; water use efficiency Caragana; carbon isotope composition; mean annual precipitation; mean annual temperature; relative humidity; water use efficiency
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Ma, F.; Liang, W.; Zhou, Z.; Xiao, G.; Liu, J.; He, J.; Jiao, B.; Xu, T. Spatial Variation in Leaf Stable Carbon Isotope Composition of Three Caragana Species in Northern China. Forests 2018, 9, 297.

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