A comparison of tree seedling growth in artificial gaps of different sizes in two contrasting forest types

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 14:12

One of the major concerns in forestry in the tropics is the lack of information on the impact of canopy disturbance through logging. The degree of canopy opening that should be allowed during logging to enhance natural regeneration of timber tree species is not known. Information on the seedling ecology of individual species and ecological species groups on which to base management decisions are also lacking. Experiments to determine the ecophysiological responses of seedlings of timber tree species to different irradiances in two forest sites were carried out. The two forest reserves are Nkrabia and Tinte Bepo in the Moist Evergreen and Moist Semi-Deciduous Forest Types, respectively. Eight species, representing three Shade Bearers, four Non-Pioneer Light Demanders and one Pioneer species, were grown in a series of artificially-created gaps in two forest sites differing in annual rainfall. The forest shade received 1-2% irradiance, while the artificial gaps received 5, 10, 15, 30 and 65% irradiance. Seedling growth was greater at Nkrabia Forest Reserve (Moist Evergreen Forest Type) than at Tinte Bepo Forest Reserve (Moist Semi-Deciduous Forest Type). This is probably due to the lower soil moisture stress at Nkrabia as a result of more rainfall. Lower moisture stress at Nkrabia may also explain the greater leaf area and specific leaf area ratios, lower leaf turnover and lower number of small leaves on plants than those at Tinte Bepo. Response of height growth to irradiance of Shade Bearers and Non-Pioneer Light Demanders was similar but different from that of Pioneer species.

Responsible party
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG)
Attachment Size
seedling_growth.pdf 1.18 MB