Article

Improving seed germination and seedling growth of Omphalea oleifera (Euphorbiaceae) for restoration projects in tropical rain forests

Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Departamento de Ecología Funcional, Apartado Postal 70-275, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México, D.F., Mexico; Estación de Biología Tropical “Los Tuxtlas”, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 94, San Andrés Tuxtla, 95701 Veracruz, Mexico
Forest Ecology and Management 01/2007; DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.03.001

ABSTRACT To improve the restoration of tropical rain forests, we tested the germination of seeds of Omphalea oleifera collected from soil (S) and from trees (T) in the 2001 dry season (Spring), at the beginning of a dry season (2005a, winter) and in the rainy season (2005b, winter). All seeds had high water content (WC, 31–33%), and the lipid content varied from 14 to 46%. Seedlings from seeds collected in 2001 were subjected to moderate water stress as a preconditioning treatment for severe stress. T-seeds collected in the dry season had high WC, rapid and high germination percentage; S and T-seeds collected in winter (2005) had also high WC but were dormant. GA3 (250 ppm) broke this dormancy. S-seeds collected in the dry season or at the beginning of it had relatively low WC and low and delayed germination. Some 2001 S-seeds produced albino seedlings. The critical water content for maintaining ecological longevity in these seeds was ∼15%. Seeds collected in 2005b that were dehydrated for 20 days in a moist and fresh atmosphere lost their viability, showing recalcitrant behavior. T-seeds with the lowest lipid content (2005a) after dehydration maintained low germination (15 ± 18%). In all samples the seed size varied widely and was not predictive of seed WC. Embryos taken from dehydrated seeds had two to four times higher WC than the seeds, but germination did not take place. Laboratory and field germination of dormant seeds showed that viability may be maintained for at least 2–3 months on a moist substrate (soil or agar). Moderate water stress at the seedling stage reduced the efficiency of biomass production. Response to this water stress was expressed more in physiological traits than in morphological characters, consequently biomass allocation was maintained and plants retained most of their morphological characteristics (root:shoot ratio, leaf area ratio, specific leaf area, leaf weight ratio). Moderate water stress did not increase the tolerance of seedlings to severe stress, causing leaf shedding and plant death. For restoration purposes we recommend that T-seeds be germinated immediately avoiding dehydration. The use of S-seeds could result in unhealthy seedlings. Seed recalcitrance and the response to moderate water stress restrict germination and establishment to small gaps, where this species naturally grows. We suggest that before introducing O. oleifera in restoration programs, a plant cover should be built to reduce soil water deficit. It is necessary to improve methods to increase potential seed longevity in storage.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
146 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Responses of the endemic leguminous shrub Bauhinia faberi var. microphylla, to various soil water supply regimes were studied in order to assess water stress tolerance of seedlings. Two-month-old seedlings were grown under water supply regimes of 100, 80, 60, 40, and 20% water field capacity (FC), respectively, in a temperature and light-controlled greenhouse. Plant height and leaf number were measured monthly over a 4-month period, while water use (WU), water-use efficiency (WUE), leaf relative water content (RWC), biomass production and its partitioning were recorded at the end of the experiment. Seedlings exhibited the greatest biomass production, height, basal diameter, branch number, leaf number, and leaf area when soil content was at 100% FC, and slightly declined at 80% FC. These parameters declined significantly under 60% FC water supply, and severely reduced under 40 and 20% FC. RWC, WU and WUE decreased, while the ratio of root mass to stem mass (R:S) increased in response to decreasing water supply. Water stress caused leaf shedding, but not plant death. The results demonstrated that B. faberi var. microphylla seedlings could tolerate drought by reducing branching and leaf area while maintaining a high R:S ratio. However, low dry mass and WUE at 40 and 20% FC suggested that the seedlings did not produce significant biomass under prolonged severe water deficit. Therefore, before introducing B. faberi var. microphylla in vegetation restoration efforts, water supply above 40% FC is recommended for seedlings to maintain growth.
    New Forests 01/2008; 36(1):53-65. · 1.64 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To facilitate restoration of the lava field forests surrounding Mexico City, we developed methods to improve the germination and field seedling performance of Quercus rugosa using hydropriming (regulated hydration of seeds in water), and we used special watering regimes to improve seedling acclimation. The size, dry mass, fresh mass and water content of seeds were measured, and curves were generated to evaluate acorn hydration and dehydration. The effects of stratification (5°C), heat shock (50°C) and scarification on germination were tested. All treated seeds and controls were germinated in control chambers at 21°C. One hydropriming cycle (PC) consisted of two hydration days followed by two dehydration days; treatments of 1, 2 and 3 PCs were tested. Seedlings from 1PC to 2PC were acclimated in a shade house under high and low watering regimes (400 and 200 mL week−1, respectively). In the shade house and field, the effects of hydropriming and watering treatments were evaluated by measuring length, basal diameter, crown cover, number of leaves and branches and leaf area of seedlings. Dry and fresh mass were used to calculate acorn water content. Dehydration and hydration curves displayed hysteresis. Acorns exhibited physiological dormancy, which could be overcome by stratification or by 1 month of storage. 1PC led to increased germination rates and final germination. In both the shade house and field, 1PC showed a positive effect on all seedling growth parameters except branch number. Field survival was not affected. Generally, 1PC favoured efficient seed germination, seedling vigour and homogenous plant production.
    European Journal of Forest Research 01/2012; · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effects of drought stress on growth and dry matter partitioning of seven provenances of Parkia biglobosa were assessed in a nursery experiment. Three different water regimes were applied: soil high, medium and low water content (HWC, MWC and LWC) corresponding respectively to 100, 75 and 50 % of field capacity. A split-plot experimental design was applied with the provenance as main plot and the water regime as sub-plot, replicated three times. Each provenance was represented by 30 seedlings in each replication, corresponding to three test periods with ten seedlings each (6, 12 and 18 months after water stress started). There were significant interactions between provenance and water regime for survival rate and the relative growth rates of diameter and height. After 18 months, the dry matter mean was 20.00 ± 0.65 g for the HWC regime, 11.50 ± 2.90 g for the MWC regime while all plants in the LWC regime died. After 6 months, the accumulated water use efficiency (WUE) showed significant differences between water regimes, but not between provenances. Seedlings from the LWC regime showed higher WUE than those from the MWC regime. However, the HWC regime displayed the highest mean value of WUE. Despite differences between provenances, it was not possible to clearly separate them according to the geographical position or climatic parameters, based on the growth performance or both fresh to dry weight and shoot to root dry weight ratios.
    Agroforestry Systems 87(1). · 1.37 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
4 Downloads
Available from
Jul 29, 2014