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Type: Journal article
Title: Plant nitrogen and phosphorus resorption in response to varied legume proportions in a restored grassland
Author: Li, Q.
Zhou, D.
Denton, M.D.
Citation: Plants, 2020; 9(3):292-1-292-17
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 2223-7747
Statement of
Qiang Li, Daowei Zhou and Matthew D. Denton
Abstract: An in-depth assessment of plant nutrient resorption can offer insights into understanding ecological processes and functional responses to biotic and abiotic changes in the environment. The legume proportion in a mixed grassland can drive changes in the soil environment and plant relationships, but little information is available regarding how the legume proportion influences plant nutrient resorption in mixed grasslands. In this study, three mixed communities of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. and Medicago sativa L. differing in legume proportion (Low-L, with 25% legume composition; Mid-L, with 50% legume composition; High-L, with 75% legume composition) were established with four replicates in a degraded grassland. Four years after establishing the mixed grassland, the quantity of biological N2 fixation by M. sativa, the availabilities of water and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in soil were examined, and the concentrations and resorption of leaf N and P for both species were measured during forage maturation and senescence. The results showed Mid-L had greater biological N2 fixation and soil N availability than Low-L and High-L, while the High-L had lower soil water and P availability, but a greater soil available N:P ratio compared with Low-L and Mid-L. Legume proportion did not alter N or P concentrations of mature leaves. However, in Mid-L N resorption was reduced by 8 to 16% for the two mixed-species compared with Low-L and High-L. High-L enhanced P resorption by 20 to 24% in both plant species compared with Low-L. The L. chinensis and M. sativa responded differently to varied legume proportion in terms of P resorption. It was concluded that legume proportion drove changes in soil nutrient availability of mixed communities, which primarily altered plant nutrient resorption during senescence, but had no influence on the nutrient concentrations of mature plants. A moderate legume proportion reduced N resorption, and increased senesced leaf N concentration of grass and legume species. The difference in P resorption by two mixed-species significantly changed the interspecific difference of senesced leaf P concentration and the N:P ratio with varied legume proportion.
Keywords: Nutrient utilization; nutrient limiting; litter; biological nitrogen fixation; legume–grass mixture
Description: Published: 1 March 2020
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
RMID: 1000016209
DOI: 10.3390/plants9030292
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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