We measured nutrient distribution of Picea likiangensis (Franchet) E. Pritzel var. balfouriana trees growing in a plantation by field investigations, sample tree and plot harvest in West Sichuan, Southwest China. Based on the results in this study, the total biomass of plant compartments in plantation ecosystem was 114 829.1 kg ha–1. Tree, shrub, herb, bryophyte and litter layers accounted for 93.9%, 0.9%, 0.02%, 0.04%, 5.2%, respectively. The total biomass of tree layers was 107 817.1 kg ha–1. Needles, branches, stem wood, stem bark and roots accounted for 13.2%, 19.7%, 42.3%, 10.0% and 14.8%, respectively. The concentration of the nutrients was generally highest in the actively growing parts of the trees (e.g. needles) and lowest in the structural and not actively growing parts (e.g. stem wood). On the other hand, the concentrations of N, P, K and Mg were generally higher in the current year needles and branches than in the older needles and branches. These nutrient concentrations were also higher in the upper stem wood and bark than in the lower stem wood and bark, and in small roots than in large roots, whereas the opposite patterns were observed for the concentration of Ca in these compartments. The results will be helpful in understanding the nutrient behavior in a highly productive forest plantation and thereby providing decisive information for their sustainable management.