Log in

Editor's Picks

Sometimes when you least expect it, good things happen.
Gaurav Verma | Dec 13, 2020
Keiko Tokunaga's second book
Keiko Tokunaga's second book, “Illustrated Flora of...
Keiko Tokunaga | Dec 12, 2020
Jozef Oak
This renowned Quercus robur caught the eye of an artist and...
Roderick Cameron | Dec 12, 2020

Plant Focus

Quercus skinneri
Quercus skinneri is a Central American oak, distinguished by the large size of its fruit.

Oak Community Diversity Affects Nitrogen Concentration in Litter and Soil

PDF icon Full text available for IOS members only. If you are a member, you need to log in.

To create an account click here; if you have already registered, click here to become a member.

Individual articles can be purchased for U$S 10. If you would like to purchase an article, email a request to website@internationaloaksociety.org

Antonio González-Rodríguez, Felipe García-Oliva, Yunuen Tapia-Torres, Alberto Morón-Cruz, Bruno Chávez-Vergara, Brenda Baca-Patiño, and Pablo Cuevas-Reyes

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 125–130


Nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems depends mainly on litter decomposition. However, plant species differ in foliar resorption efficiency (FRE), that is, the process by which a proportion of the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contained in the leaf tissue is recovered before leaf abscission. Therefore, species differ in the quantity and quality of resources that they return to the soil, with important consequences for associated biotic communities and ecosystem processes. Previous studies have suggested that Red Oak species (section Lobatae) have a higher FRE than White Oak species (section Quercus). Therefore, an effect of oak community diversity and composition can be expected on nutrient concentration in litter and soil. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated oak community diversity and composition along 66 transects in 22 sites in central-western Mexico and quantified total N and P in litter and soil samples. Total N concentration in litter was positively correlated with total oak species richness, White Oak species richness and the proportion of White Oak species. In soil, total N showed a positive correlation with total species richness. Total P did not show a correlation with any of the descriptors of the oak community diversity and structure. We suggest that significant interactions at the level of nutrient cycling could exist between species of these two oak sections, influencing the oak community assembly process, associated organisms, and ecosystem processes.


biogeochemical cycles, ecological interactions, species coexistence, temperate deciduous forest


Aguilar-Romero, R., F. García-Pineda, H. Paz, A. González-Rodríguez, and K. Oyama. 2017. Differentiation in the water-use strategies among oak species from central Mexico. Tree Physiology 37: 915-925. 

Arizaga, S., J. Martínez-Cruz, M. Salcedo-Cabrales, and M.A. Bello-González. 2009. Manual de la biodiversidad de encinos michoacanos. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Ecología - Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.

Bremmer, J.M. 1996. Nitrogen-total. In Methods of Soil Analyses: Chemical Methods, Vol. 3, edited by D.L. Spark, A.L. Page, M.E. Summer, M.A Tabatabai, and P.A Helmke. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America.  

Cavender-Bares, J., S. Khotari, J.E. Meireles, M.A. Kaproth, P.S. Manos, and A.L. Hipp. 2018. The role of diversification in community assembly of the oaks (Quercus L.) across the continental U.S. American Journal of Botany 105: 565-586.

Chávez-Vergara, B., A. González-Rodríguez, J.D. Etchevers, K. Oyama, and F. García-Oliva. 2015. Foliar nutrient resorption constrains soil nutrient transformations under two native oak species in a temperate deciduous forest in Mexico. European Journal of Forest Research 134: 803-817. 

Chávez-Vergara, B., A. Merino, A. González-Rodríguez, K. Oyama, and F. García-Oliva. 2018. Direct and legacy effects of plant-traits control litter decomposition in a deciduous oak forest in Mexico. PeerJ 6: e5095; DOI10.7717/peerj.5095

Chávez-Vergara, B., A. Merino, G. Vázquez-Marrufo, and F. García-Oliva. 2014. Organic matter dynamics and microbial activity during decomposition of forest floor under two native neotropical oak species in a temperate deciduous forest in Mexico. Geoderma 235-236: 133-145.

Chávez-Vergara, B., and F. García-Oliva. 2013. Consecuencias funcionales de la diferenciación taxonómica entre secciones del género Quercus: el caso de la reabsorción de nutrientes. Biológicas. Publicación Especial 1: 1-7.

Hipp, A.L., P.S. Manos, A. González-Rodríguez, M. Hahn, M. Kaproth, J.D. McVay, S. Valencia-Ávalos, and J. Cavender-Bares. 2018. Sympatric parallel diversification of major oak clades in the Americas and the origins of Mexican species diversity. New Phytologist 217: 439-452.    

Murphy, J., and J.P. Riley. 1962. A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Analytica Chimica Acta 27: 31–36 

Uribe-Salas, D., M.L. España-Boquera, and A. Torres-Miranda. 2019. Aspectos biogeográficos y ecológicos del género Quercus (Fagaceae) en Michoacán, México. Acta Botánica Mexicana 126.

Wardle, D.A., R.D. Bardgett, J.N. Klironomos, H. Setala, W.H. van der Putten, and D.H. Wall. 2004. Ecological linkages between above ground and below ground biota. Science 304: 1629-1633.