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The response of tree growth to nitrogen and phosphorus additions in a tropical montane rainforest

Jiang, Lai, Tian, Di, Ma, Suhui, Zhou, Xuli, Xu, Longchao, Zhu, Jianxiao, Jing, Xin, Zheng, Chengyang, Shen, Haihua, Zhou, Zhang, Li, Yide, Zhu, Biao, Fang, Jingyun
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.618 pp. 1064-1070
carbon, forest ecosystems, montane forests, nitrogen, phosphorus, rain forests, tree and stand measurements, tree growth, trees, tropical forests, China
Rapid increase of global nitrogen (N) deposition has greatly altered carbon cycles and functioning of forest ecosystems. Previous studies have focused on changes in carbon dynamics of temperate and subtropical forests through N enrichment experiments; however, the effects of N deposition on tree growth remain inconsistent, especially in tropical forests. Here, we conducted a five-year N addition experiment (0 and 50kgNha−1yr−1) in a tropical montane rain forest in Hainan Island, China, to explore the effects of enhanced N deposition on growth of trees. We also set phosphorus (P) treatment (50kgPha−1yr−1) and N+P treatment (50kgNha−1yr−1+50kgPha−1yr−1) to examine potential P limitation driven by N deposition. Our results showed that N addition has not significantly influenced tree growth, while P addition significantly increased the relative growth rate of small (diameter at breast height, DBH≤10cm) and medium (10<DBH≤20cm) trees. The combined N and P addition accelerated the growth of small trees, but did not affect the growth of medium and large (20cm<DBH) trees. These contrasting effects of N and P addition on tree growth indicate that the tropical montane forest is mainly limited by P, which suggests the importance of P in regulating growth of trees in tropical forests.