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Data from: Leaf P increase outpaces leaf N in an Inner Mongolia grassland over 27 years

Citation

Mi, Zhaorong et al. (2014), Data from: Leaf P increase outpaces leaf N in an Inner Mongolia grassland over 27 years, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vv7c8

Abstract

The dynamics of leaf nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) have been intensively explored in short-term experiments, but rarely at longer timescales. Here, we investigated leaf N : P stoichiometry over a 27-year interval in an Inner Mongolia grassland by comparing leaf N : P concentration of 2006 with that of 1979. Across 80 species, both leaf N and P increased, but the increase in leaf N lagged behind that of leaf P, leading to a significant decrease in the N : P ratio. These changes in leaf N : P stoichiometry varied among functional groups. For leaf N, grasses increased, woody species tended to increase, whereas forbs showed no change. Unlike leaf N, leaf P of grasses and forbs increased, whereas woody species showed no change. Such changes may reflect N deposition and P release induced by soil acidification over the past decades. The interannual effect of precipitation may somewhat have reduced the soil available N, leading to the more modest increase of leaf N than of leaf P. Thus, leaf N : P stoichiometry significantly responded to long-term environmental changes in this temperate steppe, but different functional groups responded differently. Our results indicate that conclusions of plant stoichiometry under short-term N fertilization should be treated with caution when extrapolating to longer timescales.

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