21 Mar 2022
21 Mar 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Contrasting strategies of nutrient demand and use between savanna and forest ecosystems in a Neotropical transition zone

Marina Corrêa Scalon1,2, Imma Oliveras Menor1,3, Renata Freitag4, Karine Silva Peixoto4, Sami W. Rifai1,5, Beatriz Schwantes Marimon3, Ben Hur Marimon3, and Yadvinder Malhi1 Marina Corrêa Scalon et al.
  • 1Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
  • 2Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, 81531-990, Brazil
  • 3AMAP (botAnique et Modélisation de l'Architecture des Plantes et des Végétations), Univ. de Montpellier, CIRAD, CNRS, INRAE, IRD, Montpellier Cedex 5, France
  • 4Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso – UNEMAT, Nova Xavantina, MT, 78690-000, Brazil
  • 5ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Abstract. The total demand and uptake of nutrients by vegetation is rarely quantified or compared across vegetation types. Here, we describe different nutrient use and allocation strategies in Neotropical savanna (cerrado) and transitional forest (cerradão) sites, report leaf nutrient resorption and calculate ecosystem-level nutrient use efficiency. For the first time, we couple net primary productivity (NPP) estimates with nutrient stoichiometry to quantify nutrient demand and nutrient flows at the whole stand scale for different components of vegetation biomass. The two vegetation types showed similar mean nutrient concentration and nutrient resorption efficiency except for wood P concentration that was 4-fold higher in cerrado than cerradão species. The cerradão showed higher canopy NPP, while fine roots and wood NPP were similar for the two vegetation types. Nutrient requirement in the two vegetation types was dominated by the demands of the canopy, with canopy resorption contributing generally more than 50 % of the total canopy demand for nutrients, while less than 35 % of N, P, K, Ca and Mg were allocated to wood or fine roots. Proportionally, the savanna site showed higher nutrient demand from fine-roots (over 35 % of total nutrient demand) and for the wood component (over 13 % of total nutrient demand), while ~60–70 % of cerradão nutrient demand was allocated to the canopy. The proportional difference in nutrient allocation to the different biomass components suggesting cerrado species are more efficient in fine root production, but less efficient in producing wood. Our findings suggest that cerradão species are limited in P and K, inducing a higher resorption to compensate for low uptake. Moreover, we found that N uptake for cerradão was higher with lower N use efficiency, leading higher N demand compared to the cerrado. This trade-off explains how similar soils and the same climate dominated by savanna vegetation can also support forest-like formations. The lack of difference in Ca and Mg use and uptake efficiency also suggests these ecosystems are able to acquire all Ca and Mg they need. Tree species composition is likely the major factor regulating nutrient use, limiting vegetation transitions and influencing nutrient demand at landscape scales.

Marina Corrêa Scalon et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-63', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Marina Scalon, 23 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-63', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Apr 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Marina Scalon, 23 May 2022

Marina Corrêa Scalon et al.

Marina Corrêa Scalon et al.


Total article views: 354 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
269 69 16 354 46 3 3
  • HTML: 269
  • PDF: 69
  • XML: 16
  • Total: 354
  • Supplement: 46
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 21 Mar 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 21 Mar 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 318 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 318 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 26 May 2022
Short summary
We investigated dynamic nutrient flow and demand in a typical savanna and a transition forest to understand how similar soils and the same climate dominated by savanna vegetation can also support forest-like formations. Savanna relied in nutrient resorption from wood, and nutrient demand was equally partitioned between leaves, wood and fine roots. Transition forest relied on resorption from the canopy biomass and nutrient demand was predominantly driven by leaves.