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Journal Article

Distributional pattern of water relations and net photosynthesis of Hammada scoparia (Pomel ) Iljin in a desert environment

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Kappen, L., Lange, O. L., Schulze, E. D., Evenari, M., & Buschbom, U. (1976). Distributional pattern of water relations and net photosynthesis of Hammada scoparia (Pomel ) Iljin in a desert environment. Oecologia, 23(4), 323-334.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-A776-B
Mediterranean oak-savannas, such as Spanish dehesas, are multiple-resource limited ecosystems found in semi-arid regions which are key contributors to inter-annual variability of the global carbon (C) budget. Interactions between nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycles are expected to play a major role in overall ecosystem functioning as anthropogenic N deposition shifts ecosystems from N to P limitation. Therefore the fate of nitrogen (N) additions in dehesas is important for understanding global C cycling. Using a 15N tracer experiment within fertilized (N or N+P) plots of a Holm oak dehesa we tested the effects of ecosystem spatial heterogeneity (habitat), P addition, and time on the fate of added N. We expected that open pasture areas would retain more of the added N in biological components due to greater N limitation, that the addition of P would enhance N retention in biological components relative to N alone, and that added N would shift from being within the microbial biomass immediately after addition to being predominantly within plants at the beginning of the following growing season. We found that open pasture plots with N only had the greatest label recovery 7 months after the start of the experiment; supporting the idea that open pasture was more N limited than under canopy areas. However, soil was the largest sink for added N, regardless of habitat, treatment, or time. Our results suggest that abiotic fixation of N may play an important role in modifying the effects of N deposition in dehesas.