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Open AccessArticle

Nitrogen Nutrition of European Beech Is Maintained at Sufficient Water Supply in Mixed Beech-Fir Stands

1
Institute of Forest Sciences, Chair of Tree Physiology, University of Freiburg, Georges-Koehler-Allee 54/54, 79110 Freiburg, Germany
2
College of Urban and Rural Development and Planning, Mianyang Normal University, Xianren Road 30, Mianyang 621000, China
3
Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
4
Büsgen-Institute, Department of Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
5
Hrvatski Šumarski Institute, Zavod za Genetiku, Oplemenjivanje Šumskog Drveća i Sjemenarstvo Cvjetno naselje 41, 10450 Jastrebarsko, Croatia
6
College of Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(12), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120733
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Forest Trees)
Research highlights: Interaction effects of coniferous on deciduous species have been investigated before the background of climate change. Background and objectives: The cultivation of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in mixed stands has currently received attention, since the future performance of beech in mid-European forest monocultures in a changing climate is under debate. We investigated water relations and nitrogen (N) nutrition of beech in monocultures and mixed with silver-fir (Abies alba Mill.) in the Black Forest at different environmental conditions, and in the Croatian Velebit at the southern distribution limit of beech, over a seasonal course at sufficient water availability. Material and methods: Water relations were analyzed via δ13C signatures, as integrative measures of water supply assuming that photosynthesis processes were not impaired. N nutrition was characterized by N partitioning between soluble N fractions and structural N. Results: In the relatively wet year 2016, water relations of beech leaves, fir needles and roots differed by season, but generally not between beech monocultures and mixed cultivation. At all sites, previous and current year fir needles revealed significantly lower total N contents over the entire season than beech leaves. Fir fine roots exhibited higher or similar amounts of total N compared to needles. Correlation analysis revealed a strong relationship of leaf and root δ13C signatures with soil parameters at the mixed beech stands, but not at pure beech stands. While glutamine (Gln) uptake capacity of beech roots was strongly related to soil N in the monoculture beech stands, arginine (Arg) uptake capacities of beech roots were strongly related to soil N in mixed stands. Conclusions: Leaf N contents indicated a facilitative effect of silver-fir on beech on sites where soil total N concentrations where low, but an indication of competition effect where it was high. This improvement could be partially attributed to protein contents, but not to differences in uptake capacity of an individual N source. From these results it is concluded that despite similar performance of beech trees at the three field sites investigated, the association with silver-fir mediated interactive effects between species association, climate and soil parameters even at sufficient water supply. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fagus sylvatica L.; Abies alba Mill.; N nutrition; mixed stands; pure stands; soil N; water relations Fagus sylvatica L.; Abies alba Mill.; N nutrition; mixed stands; pure stands; soil N; water relations
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Magh, R.-K.; Yang, F.; Rehschuh, S.; Burger, M.; Dannenmann, M.; Pena, R.; Burzlaff, T.; Ivanković, M.; Rennenberg, H. Nitrogen Nutrition of European Beech Is Maintained at Sufficient Water Supply in Mixed Beech-Fir Stands. Forests 2018, 9, 733.

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