Effects of a nursery CO <inf>2</inf> enriched atmosphere on the germination and seedling morphology of two Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit

Pilar Cortes, Josep Maria Espelta, Robert Savé, Carme Biel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The use of an enriched CO 2 atmosphere in tree nurseries has been envisaged as a promising technique to increase productivity and to obtain seedlings with a higher root/shoot ratio, an essential trait to respond to water stress in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. In that framework, we have analyzed the effects of three levels of atmospheric CO 2 concentration (350, 500 and 700ppm) on the germination rate, growth and morphology of seedlings of two Mediterranean oaks used in reforestation programs: the evergreen Quercus ilex L. and the deciduous Quercus cerrioides Wilk. et Costa. CO 2 enrichment increased the germination rate of Q. cerrioides (from 70±7 to 81±3%) while it decreased that of Q. ilex (from 71±10 to 41±12%). Seedlings of both species increased approximately 60% their total biomass in response to CO 2 enrichment but at two different CO 2 concentrations: 500ppm for Q. cerrioides and 700ppm for Q. ilex. This increase in seedlings biomass was entirely due to an augmentation of root biomass. Considering germination and biomass partitioning, an enriched CO 2 atmosphere might not be appropriate for growing Mediterranean evergreen oaks, such as Q. ilex, since it reduces acorn germination and the only gains in root biomass occur at a high concentration (700ppm). On the other hand, a moderate CO 2 enrichment (500ppm) appears as a promising nursery technique to stimulate the germination, growth and root/shoot ratio of deciduous oaks, such as Q. cerrioides.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-88
    JournalNew Forests
    Volume28
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

    Keywords

    • Forest restoration
    • Mediterranean-type ecosystems
    • Nursery techniques
    • Quercus cerrioides
    • Quercus ilex
    • Wildfire

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