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Article

Non-Structural Carbohydrate Storage Strategy Explains the Spatial Distribution of Treeline Species

1
Key Laboratory of Geographical Processes and Ecological Security in Changbai Mountains, Ministry of Education, School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
2
School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
3
Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
4
Changbai Mountain Nature Conservation Management Center, Erdaobaihe 133613, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(3), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030384
Received: 12 February 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 17 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
Environmental factors that drive carbon storage are often used as an explanation for alpine treeline formation. However, different tree species respond differently to environmental changes, which challenges our understanding of treeline formation and shifts. Therefore, we selected Picea jezoensis and Betula ermanii, the two treeline species naturally occurring in Changbai Mountain in China, and measured the concentration of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), soluble sugars and starch in one-year-old leaves, shoots, stems and fine roots at different elevations. We found that compared with P. jezoensis, the NSC and soluble sugars concentrations of leaves and shoots of B. ermanii were higher than those of P. jezoensis, while the starch concentration of all the tissues were lower. Moreover, the concentration of NSC, soluble sugars and starch in the leaves of B. ermanii decreased with elevation. In addition, the starch concentration of B. ermanii shoots, stems and fine roots remained at a high level regardless of whether the soluble sugars concentration decreased. Whereas the concentrations of soluble sugars and starch in one-year-old leaves, shoots and stems of P. jezoensis responded similarly changes with elevation. These findings demonstrate that compared with P. jezoensis, B. ermanii has a higher soluble sugars/starch ratio, and its shoots, stems and fine roots actively store NSC to adapt to the harsh environment, which is one of the reasons that B. ermanii can be distributed at higher altitudes. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-structural carbohydrates; alpine treeline; spatial distribution of species; Changbai Mountain non-structural carbohydrates; alpine treeline; spatial distribution of species; Changbai Mountain
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MDPI and ACS Style

Han, H.; He, H.; Wu, Z.; Cong, Y.; Zong, S.; He, J.; Fu, Y.; Liu, K.; Sun, H.; Li, Y.; Yu, C.; Xu, J. Non-Structural Carbohydrate Storage Strategy Explains the Spatial Distribution of Treeline Species. Plants 2020, 9, 384. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030384

AMA Style

Han H, He H, Wu Z, Cong Y, Zong S, He J, Fu Y, Liu K, Sun H, Li Y, Yu C, Xu J. Non-Structural Carbohydrate Storage Strategy Explains the Spatial Distribution of Treeline Species. Plants. 2020; 9(3):384. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030384

Chicago/Turabian Style

Han, Hudong, Hongshi He, Zhengfang Wu, Yu Cong, Shengwei Zong, Jianan He, Yuanyuan Fu, Kai Liu, Hang Sun, Yan Li, Changbao Yu, and Jindan Xu. 2020. "Non-Structural Carbohydrate Storage Strategy Explains the Spatial Distribution of Treeline Species" Plants 9, no. 3: 384. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030384

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