Plant phosphorus-use and -acquisition strategies in Amazonia

Tatiana Reichert, Anja Rammig, Lucia Fuchslueger, Laynara F. Lugli, Carlos A. Quesada, Katrin Fleischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In the tropical rainforest of Amazonia, phosphorus (P) is one of the main nutrients controlling forest dynamics, but its effects on the future of the forest biomass carbon (C) storage under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations remain uncertain. Soils in vast areas of Amazonia are P-impoverished, and little is known about the variation or plasticity in plant P-use and -acquisition strategies across space and time, hampering the accuracy of projections in vegetation models. Here, we synthesize current knowledge of leaf P resorption, fine-root P foraging, arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses, and root acid phosphatase and organic acid exudation and discuss how these strategies vary with soil P concentrations and in response to elevated atmospheric CO2. We identify knowledge gaps and suggest ways forward to fill those gaps. Additionally, we propose a conceptual framework for the variations in plant P-use and -acquisition strategies along soil P gradients of Amazonia. We suggest that in soils with intermediate to high P concentrations, at the plant community level, investments are primarily directed to P foraging strategies via roots and arbuscular mycorrhizas, whereas in soils with intermediate to low P concentrations, investments shift to prioritize leaf P resorption and mining strategies via phosphatases and organic acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-1143
Number of pages18
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Amazon rainforest
  • arbuscular mycorrhizas
  • carboxylates
  • organic acids
  • phosphatases
  • phosphorus acquisition
  • phosphorus resorption
  • root traits


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