Changes in precipitation patterns and the deposition of atmospheric nitrogen (N) increase the possibility of altering soil carbon (C):N:phosphorus (P) stoichiometry through their effects on soil C and nutrient dynamics, especially in water- and N-limited ecosystems. We conducted separate 2-year watering and N addition experiments, and examined soil C:N:P stoichiometry, relative growth rate, and leaf N resorption traits of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch in a desert steppe of northwestern China. Our objectives were to determine how soil C:N:P stoichiometry responded to climate change, and its indications for plant growth and N resorption. The results showed that additional water increased N loss and thus decreased N availability, resulting in high N resorption from senescing leaves of G. uralensis. N addition increased N availability, consequently reducing plant N dependence on leaf resorption. High relative growth rates occurred with intermediate N:P and C:N ratios, while high N resorption occurred with a low N:P ratio but a high C:N ratio. Our results indicate that soil C:N:P stoichiometry also could be a good indicator of N limitation for desert steppe species. Altered soil C:N:P stoichiometry affects the N strategy of plants, and will be expected to further influence the structure and function of the desert steppe community in the near future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics