Text by Lauri Laanisto
It´s been quiet here for a while. The IT-problems mentioned in the previous post are now solved, and email seems to work flawlessly once again. But I was in Beijing for the last ten days (attending IBS meeting about Biogeography of Ecology), and the Internet in mainland China reminded me the times of modem – loading pages took ages. Not to mention that social media and Google and so on are all blocked.
Anyway, I´m back now and meanwhile Ülo has published a paper in collaboration with Chinese researchers… About the productivity of Cunninghamia lanceolata, which has been the research object of some previous studies within this Sino-Fennic collaboration (see this blog post for example).
Citation: Dong, T., Duan, B., Zhang, S., Korpelainen, H., Niinemets, Ü., & Li, C. (2016). Growth, biomass allocation and photosynthetic responses are related to intensity of root severance and soil moisture conditions in the plantation tree Cunninghamia lanceolata. Tree Physiology, tpw025. (link to full text)
We employed the warm temperate conifer Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook. as a model of plantation forest species to investigate ecophysiological responses to root treatments (control (0%), and ∼25, 50 or 75% of the initial root mass) under well-watered and water-limited conditions. Our results indicated that total root dry mass accumulation was negatively associated with the severity of root pruning, but there was evidence of multiple compensatory responses. The plants exhibited higher instantaneous and long-term (assessed by carbon isotope composition, δ13C) water-use efficiency in pruning treatments, especially under low water availability. Root pruning also increased the fine root/total root mass ratio, specific root length and fine root vitality in both water availability treatments. As a result of the compensatory responses, under well-watered conditions, height, stem dry mass accumulation, leaf/fine root biomass ratio (L/FR), transpiration rate, photosynthetic capacity and photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency (EN) were the highest under 25% pruning. Yet, all these traits except L/FR and foliage nitrogen content were severely reduced under 75% pruning. Drought negatively affected growth and leaf gas exchange rates, and there was a greater negative effect on growth, water potential, gas exchange and EN when >25% of total root biomass was removed. The stem/aboveground mass ratio was the highest under 25% pruning in both watering conditions. These results indicate that the responses to root severance are related to the excision intensity and soil moisture content. A moderate root pruning proved to be an effective means to improve stem dry mass accumulation.