Effects of light availability on leaf attributes and seedling growth of four tree species in tropical dry forest

Published on 2020-01-06T04:11:08Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background In tropical dry forests, variation in understory light availability due to season and canopy tree density could be a governing factor in establishment and growth of tree seedlings. Species with varying life history traits are expected to respond differentially to such heterogeneity. We investigated the response of seedlings of four tree species in a tropical day forest in relation to spatiotemporal variability of light. We attempt to explore the role of leaf attributes in explaining intra- and inter-specific variations in relative growth rate. Four study sites, each with three contrasting canopy conditions, were selected along a soil moisture gradient. Seedlings of four tree species (viz., Acacia catechu, Bridelia retusa, Lagerstroemia parviflora, and Shorea robusta), varying in life history traits, were monitored for seasonal variations in growth traits across canopy condition and sites for 2 years. Results We observed a larger variation in leaf attributes for pioneer species. A. catechu showed highest mean values for leaf dry matter content, leaf nitrogen concentration, leaf phosphorus concentration, net stomatal conductance, net photosynthetic rate, and relative growth rate in high light conditions. S. robusta and B. retusa demonstrated highest mean values for all the leaf attributes (except leaf dry matter content) in low light conditions. However, intermediate values for leaf attributes were observed in L. parviflora which preferred moderate light conditions. Conclusions Seasonal variations in light availability at the forest floor appear to play an important role in the establishment and growth of tree seedlings in seasonal dry forests. Leaf attributes can be used to explain intra- and inter-specific variation in response to light availability. Leaf attributes in combinations can be used to predict relative growth rate of tree species in tropical dry environment, which apart from soil moisture is also determined by light availability due to seasonal changes and canopy tree density.

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Tripathi, Sachchidanand; Bhadouria, Rahul; Srivastava, Pratap; Devi, Rajkumari; Chaturvedi, Ravikant; Raghubanshi, A. (2020): Effects of light availability on leaf attributes and seedling growth of four tree species in tropical dry forest. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4805571.v1