Needle nutrients in geographically diverse Pinus sylvestris L. populations

Jacek Oleksyna, Peter B Reich, Roma Zytkowiak, Piotr Karolewski, Mark G. Tjoelker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Nutrient availability differs across climatic gradients, yet the role of genetic variation in potentially adaptive traits related to nutrient acquisition remains poorly understood. We examined needles of diverse Scots pine provenances grown under common-garden conditions throughout their entire life span. Based on similarities in nutrient concentration patterns, two groups of populations were identified. One comprised northern populations from 60° to 56° N, and another included populations from locations between 56° and 49° N. Northern populations sustained significantly higher concentrations of N, P, Ca, Mg, Na, Zn, Cu and Pb. Only K concentration was persistently lower in northern plants. We conclude that intraspecific genetic differences exist in foliage nutrient concentration among diverse populations. Since in northern conditions nutrient availability is often limited as a result of interactions between temperature, litter quality and its mineralization, a tendency toward higher foliage concentrations of macronutrients can be an adaptive feature enhancing plants metabolic activity in their native habitats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of Forest Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Climate gradient
  • Needle nutrients
  • Provenance
  • Scots pine
  • Seasonal pattern


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