iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Inorganic and organic nitrogen uptake by nine dominant subtropical tree species

Changcheng Li (1-2), Qianru Li (1-2), Na Qiao (3), Xingliang Xu (1)   , Qingkang Li (1), Huimin Wang (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 253-258 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1502-008
Published: Dec 02, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

We explored inorganic and organic N uptake patterns by dominant tree species in a subtropical plantation of southern China to improve understanding of nitrogen (N) cycling in these forests. We labeled intact roots by brief 15N exposures in field hydroponic experiments. Nine dominant tree species were examined to compare the effects of functional plant group (conifers versus broadleaves), mycorrhizal types, and forest successional stages on N uptake. All investigated species took up glycine at lower rates than other N forms, with mean values of 2.55 ± 0.36 µg N g-1 d.w. root h-1. Nitrate uptake rates for all species (average 5.81 ± 0.35 µg N g-1 d.w. root h-1) were significantly lower than ammonium (36.86 ± 5.17 µg N g-1 d.w. root h-1). All investigated species absorbed ammonium for more than 80% of total N uptake. Nitrate acquisition by these species was about 14% of total N uptake, with only 6% for glycine. Conifers showed significantly higher uptake rates of glycine, but lower uptake of nitrate than broadleaves. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) tree species showed significant difference in nitrate uptake, with higher rates by AM tree species. Tree species at late-successional forest stages showed higher uptake rates of nitrate than those in earlier successional stages. Our findings indicate that ammonium is the dominant N source and glycine is a minor N source throughout forest succession.


Plant Functional Group, AM Fungi, ECM Fungi, N Uptake, Subtropical Tree Species, Succession

Authors’ address

Changcheng Li
Qianru Li
Xingliang Xu
Qingkang Li
Huimin Wang
Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101 (China)
Changcheng Li
Qianru Li
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039 (China)
Na Qiao
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 88 Xuefu Road, Kunming 650223, Yunnan (P.R. China)

Corresponding author

Xingliang Xu


Li C, Li Q, Qiao N, Xu X, Li Q, Wang H (2015). Inorganic and organic nitrogen uptake by nine dominant subtropical tree species. iForest 9: 253-258. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1502-008

Academic Editor

Giustino Tonon

Paper history

Received: Nov 14, 2014
Accepted: Oct 07, 2015

First online: Dec 02, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 1.87 months

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