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Physiological responses of saplings of rainforest timber species differing in successional group to light regimes and nitrogen
journal contributionposted on 04.03.2019, 00:00 by NJC Smith, Din Zahid, Nanjappa Ashwath, DJ Reid, David Midmore
Saplings of 19 valuable rain forest timber species representative of three successional status groups (early secondary, late secondary and climax) were grown in a polyhouse to examine their responses to three light intensity/quality treatments and nitrogen supply. Solar radiation was modified using painted polyethylene sheet to mimic natural light environments across a rain forest vertical column as follows: 1. Transparent plastic, 80% of full sunlight, R:FR = 0.95, 2. Blue shade, 14% of full sunlight, R:FR = 0.69; 3. Green shade, 7% of full sunlight, R:FR = 0.50. Transparent plastic conditions promoted an increase in stem height and diameter (i.e., growth), leaf thickness and gas exchange per unit leaf area. Additional nitrogen availability enhanced growth and specific leaf area (i.e., leaves were thinner), particularly in the full sun environment and on early secondary and late secondary successional species, but did not influence photosynthetic rate. Successional status of the species did not affect photosynthetic rate although early secondary successional species grew faster and had fewer branches than species of the other successional groups. We recommend that for a successful mixed stand the high-light requiring species should be planted first, with increased nitrogen supply, and the shade tolerant species should be introduced later with no extra nitrogen supply required. © 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis.