Response of magnesium-deficient saplings in a young, open stand of Picea abies (L.) Karst. to elevated soil magnesium, nitrogen and carbon.
A decline in a Picea abies L. (Karst.) stand in the Fichtelgebirge, NE-Bavaria, FRG has been attributed to a nutritional disharmony-a seasonal imbalance between a high supply of nitrogen, caused by high nitrogen deposition, and a low supply of soil magnesium, caused by soil acidification (Oren et al., 1988a). The nutritional disharmony hypothesis was tested on ten-year-old P. abies saplings in an adjacent stand growing on identical soil. The supply rate of magnesium relative to nitrogen was continuously increased or decreased during three successive growing seasons. Increasing the nitrogen or carbon supply resulted in a small increase in foliar nitrogen concentrations. Magnesium or carbon addition slightly raised the concentration of magnesium in the foliage. Reduction in crown leaf-area did not result in any appreciable changes in nutrient concentrations. Increased N supply decreased foliar Mg concentrations. In spite of the changes in the nutritional status of the needles, gas-exchange rates, pigment concentrations, needle characteristics and growth of twigs and stems did not differ among treatments. It appears that the growth of saplings was unimpaired at the foliar magnesium concentration at which the growth of adjacent mature trees was reduced. Moreover, it was not possible to promote nutritional disharmony in the saplings, including those receiving three times the annual nitrogen input. The study demonstrates that in young, relatively open stands of P. abies, much of the deposited nitrogen is not absorbed by the roots of saplings. Thus, the conceptual model of nutritional disharmony cannot explain forest decline if nitrogen uptake does not increase with deposition. Identifying the processes which control the uptake relative to the supply of all nutrients, and quantifying the rates of nutrient uptake are essential steps in using the conceptual model to explain specific decline symptoms.
Buchmann, N; Oren, R; Zimmermann, R
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)