Seasonal changes in leaf nitrogen pools in two Salix species
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Leaf nitrogen distribution pattern was studied four times during the growing season in a 2-year-old Salix viminalis L. and Salix dasyclados Wimm. plantation in Estonia. We measured the vertical distributions of leaf nitrogen concentration, dry mass, leaf area and light environment (as fractional transmission of diffuse irradiance, a(d)) in the canopy. The light-independent nitrogen pool was evaluated as the intercept of the leaf nitrogen concentration versus a(d) relationship, and the nondegradable nitrogen pool was evaluated as the nitrogen remaining in abscised leaves. A strong vertical gradient of mass-based leaf nitrogen concentration was detected at the beginning of the growing season, and decreased steadily during canopy development. This decline had at least three causes: (1) the amount of nitrogen in the foliage was larger at the beginning of the growing season than at the end of the growing season, probably because of pre-existing root systems; (2) with increasing leaf area index (LAI) during the growing season, the proportion of leaf nitrogen in total canopy nitrogen that could be redistributed (light-dependent nitrogen pool) decreased; and (3) the photosynthetic photon flux density gradient inside the canopy changed during the season, most probably because of changes in leaf area and leaf angle distributions. Total canopy nitrogen increased almost proportionally to LAI, whereas the light-dependent nitrogen pool had a maximum in August. Also, the proportion of the light-dependent nitrogen pool in the total canopy nitrogen decreased steadily from 65.2% in June to 17.2% in September in S. dasyclados and from 63.3 to 15.1% in S. viminalis. The degradable nitrogen pool was always bigger than the light-dependent nitrogen pool.
author list (cited authors)
Kull, O., Koppel, A., & Noormets, A.