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Drought effect on plant nitrogen and phosphorus: a meta‐analysis

He, Mingzhu, Dijkstra, Feike A.
The new phytologist 2014 v.204 no.4 pp. 924-931
climate change, drought, nitrogen, nutrient availability, phosphorus, plant growth, plant response, plant stress, water stress
Climate change scenarios forecast increased aridity in large areas worldwide with potentially important effects on nutrient availability and plant growth. Plant nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations (plant [N] and [P]) have been used to assess nutrient limitation, but a comprehensive understanding of drought stress on plant [N] and [P] remains elusive. We conducted a meta‐analysis to examine responses of plant [N] and [P] to drought manipulation treatments and duration of drought stress. Drought stress showed negative effects on plant [N] (−3.73%) and plant [P] (−9.18%), and a positive effect on plant N : P (+ 6.98%). Drought stress had stronger negative effects on plant [N] and [P] in the short term (< 90 d) than in the long term (> 90 d). Drought treatments that included drying–rewetting cycles showed no effect on plant [N] and [P], while constant, prolonged, or intermittent drought stress had a negative effect on plant [P]. Our results suggest that negative effects on plant [N] and [P] are alleviated with extended duration of drought treatments and with drying–rewetting cycles. Availability of water, rather than of N and P, may be the main driver for reduced plant growth with increased long‐term drought stress.