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Nutrient concentrations in fine roots

Gordon WS, RB Jackson
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Fine roots are an important source and sink for nutrients in terrestrial biogeochemistry. We examined the following hypotheses for fine root nutrients by analyzing data from 56 published studies: 1) that there is a general, inverse relationship of fine root nutrient concentrations with root diameter, and 2) that retranslocation of nutrients out of fine roots is minimal. We analyzed nutrient concentrations of roots 2 mm diameter. Mean N concentrations in live and dead fine roots were identical and may imply little retranslocation of root N with senescence, but conflicting evidence from Ca:N ratios highlights the need for further research. These results have practical implications for various ecological methods and for the representation of roots in biogeochemical models.

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