Disturbance intensity and seasonality affect the resprouting ability of the neotropical dry-forest tree Acacia pennatula: Do resources stored below-ground matter?

Guille Peguero, Josep Maria Espelta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2011 Cambridge University Press. Many plant species in tropical dry forests partly base their ability to persist after disturbance on resprouting. Yet little is known if this ability can be affected by the intensity and seasonality of disturbance and whether the amount of resources (starch, N, P) stored in the taproot may constrain this response. We investigated resprouting after experimental clipping or burning, applied before or after the dry season and repeatedly in Acacia pennatula individuals in wooded rangelands of North-West Nicaragua. Each treatment was applied to 12 trees and replicated in six plots. One year after the onset of the experiment, survival and biomass recovery were significantly lower in burned than in clipped individuals (78% ± 4% and 75.3 ± 8.0 g vs. 94% ± 2% and 79.1 ± 6.8 g; mean ± SE). Whatever the disturbance applied, trees disturbed after the dry season significantly showed the lowest survival, growth and concentration of N and P. These results suggest that resprouting in dry tropical species may be constrained by intense disturbances (e.g. burning) but especially if they occur towards the end of the dry season. This phenological constraint could be due to the reduced availability of N and P as this dry season progresses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Central America
  • drought
  • encroachment
  • fire
  • Nicaragua
  • nutrients
  • resprouting
  • starch
  • taproot
  • tropical dry forest

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