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Interacting effects of irradiance and water stress on dry weight and biomass partitioning in Fagus sylvatica seedlings

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Abstract:

Actual climate models for central Europe predict prolonged summer droughts. Knowledge on how the interaction between light and water availability affects regeneration will hence be of major importance. In an experiment carried out under controlled conditions, newly emerged beech seedlings were grown in pots with sand during 54 days. Three treatments applying three different light levels (2, 9 and 43% relative light intensity) were combined with two soil water treatments (control and drought). At the end of the experiment, seedlings were separated into leaves, stem and root and the seedlings' dry mass, leaf area and stem length was determined. Low irradiance (2%) had a strong negative effect on dry weights of seedling components, leaf area and specific leaf mass. Drought clearly affected biomass partitioning for seedlings at high irradiance levels (43%). An interaction between irradiance and drought on biomass partitioning in beech seedlings was observed at medium irradiance level (9%). Within a wide range of light levels in the forests, both light and drought may affect biomass partitioning in young seedlings.

Keywords: European beech; PPFD; root/shoot ratio; shading; water shortage

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02827580500201593

Affiliations: 1: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp, Sweden 2: Department I, Institute of Silviculture, University of Göttingen, Goettingen, Germany

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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