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Article

Contrasting Leaf Trait Responses of Conifer and Broadleaved Seedlings to Altered Resource Availability Are Linked to Resource Strategies

1
Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
2
Forest Dynamics, Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3
Key Laboratory of Geographical Processes and Ecological Security in Changbai Mountains, Ministry of Education, School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
4
Environmental Sciences and Engineering, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(5), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050621
Received: 3 April 2020 / Revised: 27 April 2020 / Accepted: 11 May 2020 / Published: 13 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
(1) Understanding tree seedling responses to water, nutrient, and light availability is crucial to precisely predict potential shifts in composition and structure of forest communities under future climatic conditions. (2) We exposed seedlings of widespread Central European tree species with contrasting leaf habit, deciduous broadleaves (DB) and evergreen conifers (EC), to factorial combinations of manipulated precipitation (100% and 50% of ambient), shade (40% and 60% of full sunlight), and nutrient availability (low and high NPK), and measured specific leaf area, C/N ratio, soluble sugars, starch and non-structural carbohydrate concentration, and δ13C of the leaves. (3) We found contrasting effects of water and nutrient availability on foliar traits of the two species groups: EC exhibited higher tolerance to low resource availability but also less plasticity in foliar traits, which is congruent with a “slow” resource strategy. In contrast, foliage of DB reacted particularly to altered nutrient availability, corresponding to a “fast” resource strategy with high foliar plasticity and rapid adjustments to resource fluctuations, commonly adopted by species with high growth rates. (4) We conclude that DB will respond to environmental change with foliar acclimation, while EC will either tolerate, to some extent, or shift their distribution range in response to environmental change. View Full-Text
Keywords: foliar functional traits; light; nutrients; drought; environmental change; evergreen conifers; deciduous broadleaves foliar functional traits; light; nutrients; drought; environmental change; evergreen conifers; deciduous broadleaves
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Y.-L.; Moser, B.; Li, M.-H.; Wohlgemuth, T.; Lei, J.-P.; Bachofen, C. Contrasting Leaf Trait Responses of Conifer and Broadleaved Seedlings to Altered Resource Availability Are Linked to Resource Strategies. Plants 2020, 9, 621. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050621

AMA Style

Zhang Y-L, Moser B, Li M-H, Wohlgemuth T, Lei J-P, Bachofen C. Contrasting Leaf Trait Responses of Conifer and Broadleaved Seedlings to Altered Resource Availability Are Linked to Resource Strategies. Plants. 2020; 9(5):621. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050621

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Yan-Li, Barbara Moser, Mai-He Li, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Jing-Pin Lei, and Christoph Bachofen. 2020. "Contrasting Leaf Trait Responses of Conifer and Broadleaved Seedlings to Altered Resource Availability Are Linked to Resource Strategies" Plants 9, no. 5: 621. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050621

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