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Open AccessArticle

Growth and Needle Properties of Young Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. Trees across an Elevational Gradient

1
College of Forest Science, Beijing Forestry University, No.35 Qinghua Donglu, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
2
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 2500 S. Pine Knoll Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001-6381, USA
3
College of Science, Beijing Forestry University, No.35 Qinghua Donglu, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010054
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Forest Trees)
A better understanding of the response of plant growth to elevational gradients may shed light on how plants respond to environmental variation and on the physiological mechanisms underlying these responses. This study analyzed whole plant growth and physiological and morphological properties of needles in young Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. trees at thirteen points along an elevational gradient ranging from 750 to 1350 m above sea level (a.s.l.) at the end of a growing season on Changbai Mountain in northeastern China. Sampling and analyses indicated the following; (1) many needle properties of P. koraiensis varied with forest type along the elevational gradient though some needle properties (e.g., intrinsic water use efficiency, concentration of chlorophyll, and leaf mass per area) did not change with elevation and forest types; (2) growth was significantly influenced by both forest type and elevation and growth of saplings in P. koraiensis and mixed broadleaved forests was greater than that in evergreen forests and increased with elevation in both forest types; (3) in P. koraiensis and mixed broadleaved forests, there were significant correlations between growth properties and light saturation point, leaf water potential, mean within-crown humidity, annual precipitation, cumulative temperature (≥5 C), within-crown air temperature, and atmospheric pressure; while in evergreen forests, the leaf C, leaf P content, net rate of light saturation in photosynthesis, water content of soil, within-crown humidity, annual precipitation, cumulative temperature (≥5 C), within-crown air temperature, and total soil P content displayed a significant relationship with plant growth. These results may help illuminate how P. koraiensis responds to environmental variation and evaluate the adaptive potential of Pinus koraiensis to climate change. Data presented here could also contribute to the more accurate estimation of carbon stocks in this area and to refinement of a plant trait database. View Full-Text
Keywords: elevation gradient; forest type; growth; leaf properties; Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. elevation gradient; forest type; growth; leaf properties; Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc.
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Fan, Y.; Moser, W.K.; Cheng, Y. Growth and Needle Properties of Young Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. Trees across an Elevational Gradient. Forests 2019, 10, 54.

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