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Needle life span, photosynthetic rate and nutrient concentration of Picea glehnii, P. jezoensis and P. abies planted on serpentine soil in northern Japan

Kayama, M., Sasa, K., Koike, T.
Tree physiology 2002 v.22 no.10 pp. 707-716
Picea glehnii, Picea jezoensis, Picea abies, conifer needles, longevity, photosynthesis, net assimilation rate, light intensity, chlorophyll, quantitative analysis, serpentine soils, heavy metals, magnesium, calcium, soil fertility, adaptation, plant nutrition, nitrogen, phosphorus, nutrient uptake, chemical constituents of plants, Japan
We investigated the adaptation of three spruce species (Picea glehnii Masters, P. jezoensis Carr. and P. abies Karst.) to growth in northern Japan on serpentine soils (characterized by high concentrations of heavy metals and Mg, a low Ca/Mg ratio and low fertility) and fertile brown forest soils. Among species, seedling survival on serpentine soil was highest in P. glehnii. Shoot growth of P. glehnii was similar whether grown on serpentine or brown forest soil, whereas shoot growth of the other species was significantly less on serpentine soil than on brown forest soil. On serpentine soil, needle life span of P. glehnii was at least 3 years longer than that of the other two species. Needle area per shoot of P. glehnii was significantly higher on serpentine soil than on brown forest soil up to a shoot age of 8 years. In all three species, light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Pmax) decreased with needle age independently of soil type. However, on serpentine soil, Pmax in P. glehnii was higher, particularly in older needles, than in the other species. Furthermore, on serpentine soil, needle concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were higher in P. glehnii than in the other species. We conclude that P. glehnii is better adapted to serpentine soil than P. jezoensis and P. abies at least in part because of its greater needle life span and higher needle nutrient concentrations.