Linking post-fire regenerative strategy and leaf nutrient content in Mediterranean woody plants

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Abstract

We explored differences in leaf nutrient contents between species from Mediterranean shrublands with the ability to resprout after disturbances such as fire (resprouters) and others without this capacity (non-resprouters). Since it is to be expected that resprouting capacity is related to a more conservative use of nutrients, we hypothesize that resprouter and non-resprouter species will differ in their leaf nutrient concentrations. We measured the following leaf traits: leaf carbon content (LCC), leaf nitrogen content, leaf phosphorous content (LPC), leaf potassium content, leaf calcium content (LCaC), leaf magnesium content and leaf sodium content, in 30 woody species coexisting in a coastal shrubland. We also considered the influence of species' taxonomic affiliation in our analysis. Non-resprouters had higher LPC and LCaC than resprouter species, and lower LCC, which could be related to their cell and life-history properties. This study also suggests that non-resprouter species have more P in their leaves and are less limited by P than resprouter species. Overall, the differences in leaf nutrient contents suggest that shifts in the proportion of resprouter and non-resprouter species resulting from changes in the fire regime may have effects on the functional properties of the ecosystem. © 2009 Rübel Foundation, ETH Zürich.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
JournalPerspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Fire
  • Leaf traits
  • Nutrient content
  • Plant functional groups
  • Regenerative traits
  • Resprouter

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