Presentation_1_Variations in Rainfall Affect the Responses of Foliar Chemical Properties of Cunninghamia lanceolata Seedlings to Soil Warming.pdf
Climate warming is becoming an increasingly serious threat. Understanding plant stoichiometry changes under climate warming is crucial for predicting the effects of future warming on terrestrial ecosystem productivity. Nevertheless, how plant stoichiometry responds to warming when interannual rainfall variation is considered, remains poorly understood. We performed a field soil warming experiment (+5°C) using buried heating cables in subtropical areas of China from 2015 to 2018. Stoichiometric patterns of foliar C:N:P:K:Ca:Mg, non-structural carbohydrate, and stable isotope of Cunninghamia lanceolata seedlings were studied. Our results showed that soil warming decreased foliar P and K concentrations, C:Ca, P:Ca, and P:Mg ratios. However, soil warming increased foliar Ca concentration, δ15N value, C:P and N:P ratios. The response ratios of foliar N, C:N, and δ15N to soil warming were correlated with rainfall. Our findings indicate that there was non-homeostasis of N and C:N under warming conditions. Three possible reasons for this result are considered and include interannual variations in rainfall, increased loss of N, and N limitation in leaves. Piecewise structural equation models showed that stoichiometric non-homeostasis indirectly affected the growth of C. lanceolata seedlings in response to soil warming. Consequently, the growth of C. lanceolata seedlings remained unchanged under the warming treatment. Taken together, our results advance the understanding of how altered foliar stoichiometry relates to changes in plant growth in response to climate warming. Our results emphasize the importance of rainfall variations for modulating the responses of plant chemical properties to warming. This study provides a useful method for predicting the effects of climate warming on economically important timber species.