Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of foliar nitrogen concentration on photosynthesis and water use efficiency in Douglas-fir. 1993. Mitchell, A.K.; Hinckley, T.M. Tree Physiology 12: 403-410.

Year: 1993

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 3300

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

Leaf-level physiological processes were studied in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) to determine whether apparent increases in stand-level water use efficiency (WUE) observed in response to nitrogen (N) fertilization were attributable to foliar N effects on carbon fixation rates or on stomatal control of water loss. Photosynthesis and transpiration were measured at different light intensities and ambient CO2 molar fractions and comparisons were made between current-year shoots with average foliar N concentrations of 1.58% (High-N) and 1.25% (Low-N). Photosynthetic rates and foliar N concentrations were positively correlated. In response to light, photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were closely coupled and a similar coupling was observed in response to different ambient CO2 concentrations. Partitioning the photosynthetic responses into mesophyll and stomatal components indicated that foliar N altered mesophyll conductance but not stomatal control of water loss. High-N shoots had significantly greater rates of photosynthesis and transpiration than Low-N shoots and, as a result, instantaneous WUE did not differ significantly between High-N and Low-N shoots.