Nutrient-use efficiency of woody plants on contrasting soils in the western Great Basin, Nevada

W. H. Schlesinger, Evan H Delucia, W. D. Billings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soils that develop on areas of hydrothermally altered rock in the W Great Basin support Sierran conifers, eg Pinus ponderosa, in a desert climate. These soils have low pH (c3.7) and low concentrations of HCO3 - extractable P (5.6 μg/g), compared to adjacent brown desert soils supporting sagebrush Artemisia tridentata vegetation. Occurrence of Sierran conifers appears to be related to their tolerance of the unusual soil chemistry, high nutrient-use efficiency in growth, high reabsorption of foliar nutrients before leaf abscission, and slow growth rates. Most of these traits appear to be inherent characteristics of evergreen vegetation, and show little acclimation to the nutrient-poor conditions on hydrothermally altered rock. Plants of the Great Basin sagebrush vegetation are physiologically intolerant of the unusual soils that develop from hydrothermally altered rock and are excluded from such sites. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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