Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-687
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-687
18 Mar 2024
 | 18 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Leaf habit and nutrient availability drive leaf nutrient resorption globally

Gabriela Sophia, Silvia Caldararu, Benjamin Stocker, and Sönke Zaehle

Abstract. Nutrient resorption from senescing leaves can significantly affect ecosystem nutrient cycling, making it an essential process to better understand long-term plant productivity under environmental change that affects the balance between nutrient availability and demand. Although it is known that nutrient resorption rates vary strongly between different species and across environmental gradients, the underlying driving factors are insufficiently quantified. Here, we present an analysis of globally distributed observations of leaf nutrient resorption to investigate the factors driving resorption efficiencies for nitrogen (NRE) and phosphorus (PRE). Our results show that leaf structure and habit, together with indicators of nutrient availability, are the two most important factors driving spatial variation in NRE. Overall, we found higher NRE in deciduous plants (65.2 % ± 12.4 % , n=400) than in evergreen plants (57.9 % ± 11.4 %, n=551) , likely associated with a higher share of metabolic N in leaves of deciduous plants. Tropical regions show the lowest resorption for N (NRE: 52.4 % ± 12.1 % ) and tundra ecosystems in polar regions show the highest (NRE: 69.6 % ± 12.8 %), while the minimum PRE is in temperate regions (57.8 % ± 13.6 %) increasing to boreal regions (67.3 % ± 13.6 %). Soil clay content, N and P atmospheric deposition – a globally available proxy for soil fertility – and MAP played an important role in this pattern, where we found higher NRE and PRE in high latitudes. The statistical relationships developed in this analysis indicate an important role of leaf habit and type for nutrient cycling and guide improved representations of plant-internal nutrient re-cycling and nutrient conservation strategies in vegetation models.

Gabriela Sophia, Silvia Caldararu, Benjamin Stocker, and Sönke Zaehle

Status: open (until 15 May 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-687', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 Apr 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-687', Helena Vallicrosa, 12 Apr 2024 reply
Gabriela Sophia, Silvia Caldararu, Benjamin Stocker, and Sönke Zaehle
Gabriela Sophia, Silvia Caldararu, Benjamin Stocker, and Sönke Zaehle

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Short summary
Through an extensive global dataset of leaf nutrient resorption and a multifactorial analysis, we show that the majority of spatial variation in nutrient resorption may be driven by leaf habit and type, with thicker, longer-lived leaves having lower resorption efficiencies. Climate, soil fertility and soil-related factors emerge as strong drivers with an additional effect in its role. These results are essential for comprehending plant nutrient status, plant productivity and nutrient cycling.