Phosphorus limits Eucalyptus grandis seedling growth in an unburnt rain forest soil

Tng, David Y.P., Janos, David P., Jordan, Gregory J., Weber, Ellen, and Bowman, David M.J.S. (2014) Phosphorus limits Eucalyptus grandis seedling growth in an unburnt rain forest soil. Frontiers in Plant Science, 5. 527. pp. 1-11.

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Although rain forest is characterized as pyrophobic, pyrophilic giant eucalypts grow as rain forest emergents in both temperate and tropical Australia. In temperate Australia, such eucalypts depend on extensive, infrequent fires to produce conditions suitable for seedling growth. Little is known, however, about constraints on seedlings of tropical giant eucalypts. We tested whether seedlings of Eucalyptus grandis experience edaphic constraints similar to their temperate counterparts. We hypothesized that phosphorous addition would alleviate edaphic constraints. We grew seedlings in a factorial experiment combining fumigation (to simulate nutrient release and soil pasteurization by fire), soil type (E. grandis forest versus rain forest soil) and phosphorus addition as factors. We found that phosphorus was the principal factor limiting E. grandis seedling survival and growth in rain forest soil, and that fumigation enhanced survival of seedlings in both E. grandis forest and rain forest soil. We conclude that similar to edaphic constraints on temperate giant eucalypts, mineral nutrient and biotic attributes of a tropical rain forest soil may hamper E. grandis seedling establishment. In rain forest soil, E. grandis seedlings benefited from conditions akin to a fire-generated ashbed (i.e., an "ashbed effect").

Item ID: 38045
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1664-462X
Keywords: ashbed effect; eucalyptus grandis; fire ecology; giant eucalypts; phosphorus limitation; seedling growth
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Copyright © 2014 Tng, Janos, Jordan, Weber and Bowman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Funders: Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA)
Projects and Grants: WTMA Student Research Grant 871
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 10:37
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060203 Ecological Physiology @ 20%
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