Root architecture and allocation patterns of eight native tropical species with different successional status used in open-grown mixed plantations in Panama
While an increasing number of native tropical trees are under study for reforestation and commercial plantations, the majority of studies on trees in the tropics have concentrated on the aboveground aspects of tree growth. This study investigates biomass allocation and root architecture of eight tropical species with different successional status.
Research goals & methods
Seedlings of eight species were planted in mixed plantations in eight 10x25m plots in 1998 and sampled annually for the next three years. In each sampling, diameter at 10cm, height, number and length of branches, trunk biomass, leaf biomass, root biomass and architecture were sampled.
Conclusions & takeaways
Analysis clearly distinguished functional types and classified species according to successional status at a 100% success rate. For a given plant diameter, the pioneer species presented similar root biomass compared to the non-pioneer ones but higher cumulative root length and a higher number of root apices. A detailed study on the root system of a sub-sample of three species showed that the most late-successional species (Tabebuia rosea) had longer root internodes and a higher proportion of root biomass allocated to the taproot compared to the other two species (Hura crepitans and Luehea seemannii). Most pioneer species showed a higher leaf area ratio due to a higher specific leaf area (SLA). The study concludes that the functional differences between pioneer and non-pioneer tree species found in natural forests were maintained in open-grown plantation conditions.
Root architecture and allocation patterns of eight native tropical species with different successional status used in open-grown mixed plantations in Panama. Trees. 2008;22:585–596. doi:10.1007/s00468-008-0219-6..
- Universite du Quebec a Montreal
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Department of Biology
- McGill University
- Centre Tecnologic Forestal de Catalunya (CTFC),
- Institut Quebecois d’Amenagement de la Foret Feuillue,