Biome-specific effects of nitrogen and phosphorus on the photosynthetic characteristics of trees at a forest-savanna boundary in Cameroon

Tomas Ferreira Domingues, F.Y. Ishida, T.R. Feldpausch, John Grace, Patrick Meir, Gustavo Saiz, Olivier Sene, Franziska Schrodt, Bonaventure Sonké, Herman Taedoumg, E.M. Veenendaal, Simon Lewis, Jon Lloyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Photosynthesis/nutrient relationships of proximally growing forest and savanna trees were determined in an ecotonal region of Cameroon (Africa). Although area-based foliar N concentrations were typically lower for savanna trees, there was no difference in photosynthetic rates between the two vegetation formation types. Opposite to N, area-based P concentrations were—on average—slightly lower for forest trees; a dependency of photosynthetic characteristics on foliar P was only evident for savanna trees. Thus savanna trees use N more efficiently than their forest counterparts, but only in the presence of relatively high foliar P. Along with some other recent studies, these results suggest that both N and P are important modulators of woody tropical plant photosynthetic capacities, influencing photosynthetic metabolism in different ways that are also biome specific. Attempts to find simple unifying equations to describe woody tropical vegetation photosynthesis-nutrient relationships are likely to meet with failure, with ecophysiological distinctions between forest and savanna requiring acknowledgement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-672
JournalOecologia
Volume178
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Keywords

  • Global change
  • Nutrient
  • Photosynthesis
  • Terrestrial productivity
  • Tropical rain forest

Cite this

Ferreira Domingues, T., Ishida, F. Y., Feldpausch, T. R., Grace, J., Meir, P., Saiz, G., ... Lloyd, J. (2015). Biome-specific effects of nitrogen and phosphorus on the photosynthetic characteristics of trees at a forest-savanna boundary in Cameroon. Oecologia, 178(3), 659-672. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3250-5