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Variation of Leaf Carbon Isotope in Plants in Different Lithological Habitats in a Karst Area

College of Forest, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
College of Life Sciences, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
Key Laboratory for Mountain Plant Resources Protection of the Education Ministry of China, Guiyang 550025, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 356;
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 13 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stable Isotopes in Forest Ecosystem Research)
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Drought is the major factor that limits vegetation recovery in rocky desertification areas. The leaf carbon isotope (δ13C) value is related to plant water-use efficiency (WUE) and is of great significance in revealing the WUE characteristics of species in karst areas. Measurements of the δ13C value in plant leaves and the nutrient and water contents of lithologic soils were obtained for six woody species (cypress, Cupressus funebris Endl.; mansur shrub, Coriaria nepalensis Wall.; camphor, Cinnamomum bodinieri Levl.; birch, Betula luminifera H. Winkl.; alder, Alnus cremastogyne Burk. and dyetree, Platycarya longipes Wu.) planted in three different lithologic soil types (dolomite, dolomite sandstone, limestone) in the karst area of Guizhou Province. The results showed that C. funebris in the dolomite sandstone soil had the highest δ13C value (−27.19‰), whereas C. bodinieri in the limestone soil had the lowest δ13C value (−31.50‰). In terms of lithology, the average leaf δ13C values were −28.66‰ (dolomitic sandstone), −28.83‰ (dolomite), and −29.46‰ (limestone). The δ13C values of C. funebris and A. cremastogyne were significantly lower in the limestone soil than in the dolomite and dolomite sandstone soil, indicating that the WUE of some tree species is affected by soil conditions under different lithological development processes. Moreover, the relationship between the δ13C value in the leaves and the comprehensive soil conditions varied among the species, and the δ13C value was negatively correlated with the soil water content in all three soil types. Our study provides basic data on the composition characteristics of the δ13C value of tree species, which is beneficial for the selection of tree species for vegetation restoration and afforestation in karst areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon isotope; forest planting; integrated fertility index; lithology; karst area carbon isotope; forest planting; integrated fertility index; lithology; karst area

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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    Description: Table S1: Sample plot characteristics of forest stands across three lithological soil types. Table S2: The mean temperature in five years of sample plots across three lithological soil types.

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Zou, J.; Yu, L.; Huang, Z. Variation of Leaf Carbon Isotope in Plants in Different Lithological Habitats in a Karst Area. Forests 2019, 10, 356.

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