Soil nitrogen availability influences seasonal carbon allocation patterns in sugar maple ( Acer saccharum )
Growth and survival of plants depend on maintaining a positive carbon (C) balance (Mooney 1972; Chapin et al. 1987; Tilman 1988). To maintain a positive C balance and optimize growth, plants must allocate assimilates appropriately among various competing sinks. These sinks include roots, shoots, and when plants are exposed to large seasonal climatic changes, storage reserves for maintenance during and after the period of dormancy. If environmental conditions change, C allocation patterns must change if a positive C balance is to be maintained (Osmond et al. 1987). Hence, plant survival depends on whether C allocation is appropriate and flexible enough to withstand the many and variable environmental stresses.