Growth and Establishment of Seedlings of Indigenous Species Inside Plantations and the Adjacent Natural Forest

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Addis Ababa Universty


Eucalyptus and Pill/IS plantations and adjacent natural forest in Shashemene-Munessa State Forest were studied to investigate growth and establishment of seedlings of three indigenous species: Podocarpus falcatus, Bersallla abyssillica and Crotoll lIlacrostachyus. Density, distance from individual plantation trees, seedling architecture, transpiration and photosynthetic performance of understory indigenous plants were measured in order to investigate the nursing effect of plantation trees for the development of indigenous flora under their canopies. Examination of growth and establishment of study plants exhibited variations not only between plantations and adjacent natural forest but also between plantations themselves. Based on the results from measurements of density, distance from plantation trees and architecture of regenerated study species, plantations supported higher natural regeneration development (stem! ha) of indigenous species than adjacent natural forest (1950 vs 1260). P.falcatus was found to be the most successfully regenerated species in both plantations and adjacent natural forest. More regeneration (stem!ha) and closer establishment to individual trees of plantation species of understory plants were found in Eucalyptus plantation indicating its better nursing effect than Pinus plantation. All study species had large number of individuals along the edge of Eucalyptus plantation. The seedling population of P. falcatus in Eucalyptus plantation had a density distribution inversely related with distance from seed source: with large number of individuals near the seed source and few individuals at further distance away from the seed source. Seedlings of P. fttlcatus and B. abyssillica exhibited differences in architecture in the two stands. Seedlings of both species in Eucalyptus plantation had more biomass distribution to branches and/or leaves to increase lateral growth than those in Pin liS plantation. These differences in seedling architectllre (stem growth and later,t1 growth) would probably reveal more need of silvicultural treatments for growth and establishment of indigenous plants in Pill liS than Ellca/)'p/lls stand. Analysis of fluorescence parameters in the leaves of study specics showed no significant difference in the level of FvlFm, L'lF/F",', ETR and NPQ among species developed inside plantations and adjaecnt natural forest. In Ellca/yp/lls plantation seedlings of 1'. ./ii/ca/lls and E. saligl/a had similar photoS)~lthetic performance. From measurements of transpiration considerable variation was found bctween indigenous species and plantation species. Seedlings of E. saliglla lose much more water through their leaves than those .. of P./aica/lis and B. a/Jyssillica with increasing vapor pressure deficit (VPD), Most impoFtantly, large difference in watcr relation of E. saliglla and P./a/callis was recorded which indicates its better water usc. Comparison of photosynthetic performancc and water relations of seedlings of P. /aica/lis with E. sa/iglla indicated the potential of p, Pi/CO/liS to grow inside Fllcalyp/lls plantation. The study supported the suggestion that plantations had nursing effects for growth and establishment of indigenous flora under their canopies. Furthermore, the importance of seed availability and overstory species composition on the natural regeneration development of study species was also evident in the study



Establishment of Seedlings