iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Evergreen Quercus aquifolioides remobilizes more soluble carbon components but less N and P from leaves to shoots than deciduous Betula ermanii at the end-season

Yu Cong (1), Ao Wang (2-4-7), Hong S He (1-3)   , Fei-Hai Yu (2-4), Roberto Tognetti (5-6), Paolo Cherubini (7), Xue Wang (2), Mai-He Li (1-7)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 517-525 (2018)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2633-011
Published: Aug 01, 2018 - Copyright © 2018 SISEF

Research Articles

Remobilization is an important mechanism of resource conservation in plants. However, our understanding of whether the responses of resource remobilization to global warming differ between deciduous and evergreen trees remains unclear. We assessed resource remobilization from leaves to 1-year-old shoots in a deciduous (Betula ermanii) and an evergreen (Quercus aquifolioides) species along elevational gradients (i.e., temperature gradient) at the end of growing season. We aimed to test the hypotheses that the reallocation rate increased with increasing elevation and that more resources were reallocated from leaves to storage tissues in deciduous species than in evergreen species. We analyzed the concentrations of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and compared the differences in remobilization efficiency of NSC, N, and P between leaves and shoots within each species and between the two species along the elevational gradients. Due to the different strategies of evergreen and deciduous species in nutrients use, the deciduous species had higher N and P remobilization rate, but lower remobilization rate of sugars, starch, and NSC than the evergreen species at the end of growing season. The remobilization rate of NSC, N, and P was significantly higher in trees at their upper limits compared to lower elevations. Our results suggest that trees reallocate resources from leaves to storage tissues before leaf senescence or at the end of growing season, to increase the resource use efficiency and to adapt to the harsh alpine environments. These results contribute to better understanding of the alpine treeline phenomenon in a changing world.


Altitudinal Gradient, Non-structural Carbohydrates, Sugars, Starch, Nutrients, Reallocation

Authors’ address

Yu Cong
Hong S He
Mai-He Li
School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024 (China)
Ao Wang
Fei-Hai Yu
Xue Wang
Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation, Taizhou University, Taizhou 318000, Zhejiang (China)
Hong S He
School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 (USA)
Ao Wang
Fei-Hai Yu
School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083 (China)
Roberto Tognetti
Dipartimento di Agricoltura, Ambiente e Alimenti, Università degli Studi del Molise, v. de Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso (Italy)
Roberto Tognetti
European Forest Institute (EFI) Project Centre on Mountain Forests (MOUNTFOR), v. E. Mach 1, I-38010 San Michele all’Adige (Italy)
Ao Wang
Paolo Cherubini
Mai-He Li
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zuercherstrasse 111 CH-8903 Birmensdorf (Switzerland)

Corresponding author



Cong Y, Wang A, He HS, Yu F-H, Tognetti R, Cherubini P, Wang X, Li M-H (2018). Evergreen Quercus aquifolioides remobilizes more soluble carbon components but less N and P from leaves to shoots than deciduous Betula ermanii at the end-season. iForest 11: 517-525. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2633-011

Academic Editor

Silvano Fares

Paper history

Received: Sep 18, 2017
Accepted: May 16, 2018

First online: Aug 01, 2018
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2018
Publication Time: 2.57 months

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