Found 6 publication(s)
Schüßler, A.; Krüger, C. & Urgiles , N. (2016): Phylogenetically diverse AM fungi from Ecuador strongly improve seedling growth of native potential crop trees. Mycorrhiza 26(3), 199--207.
Cárate Tandalla, D. (2016): Effects of moderate Nitrogen and Phosphorus addition on the species composition and dynamics of the tree seedlings community in tropical montane forests in southern Ecuador University of Goettingen, phd thesis
- log in to download
- view metadata
- Abstract: Anthropogenic activities...
- Keywords: | NUMEX | San Francisco | Bombuscaro | Cajanuma | tropical tree seedlings |
Abstract:Anthropogenic activities have produced changes in natural ecosystems worldwide. In tropical regions in South America, industrialization of cities and forest clearance via burning are the main activities releasing pollutants into the atmosphere and inducing changes in nutrient deposition patterns and climate of primary forests. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are considered the main limiting nutrients of plant growth since their availability is vital for net primary productivity. Therefore, any change in N or P availability in soils would likely alter important mechanisms of forests dynamics such as growth and survival. Changes in soil pH (acidity), nutrient cycles and altered nutrient stocks affect N and P availability and affect various physiological processes of trees. Although low levels of nutrient deposition have been reported for montane forests in southern Ecuador (ca. 5 kg ha–1 for N, 0.49 kg ha–1 for P), even these levels are expected to lead to changes in forest structure and dynamics over the long term. The responsiveness of forest to changes in resource availability varies with forest age and successional status, as well as life stage of the plant. Young plants (tree seedlings) should be more responsive to changes in nutrient availability than mature forest trees. Further, any demographic response is more likely to be visible in seedlings before mature trees because of the more rapid dynamics of seedlings. Therefore, I studied the regeneration dynamics of montane forest to understand which nutrient-related processes are involved in the growth and establishment of seedlings at both the individual and community levels. The Ecuadorian NUtrient Manipulation EXperiment (NUMEX) has been designed to study the response of montane forest to moderate fertilization. The experiment has been set up over an elevation range across three main study sites (1000 m. a.s.l: Bombuscaro; 2000 m. a.s.l: San Francisco; 3000 m. a.s.l: Cajanuma) within the Podocarpus National Park and San Francisco Reserve. The factorial experiment consists of four blocks containing four experimental plots (N, P, NP and control) in every study site (16 plots per elevation). Fertilization has been done since 2008, adding moderate quantities of fertilizer (50 kg ha–1 y–1 of N and/or 10 kg ha–1 y–1 of P). Three different approaches were used to assess the seedling community and common species responses to fertilization. First, the seedling community was monitored in natural forest at 2000 m over three consecutive years (2011 – 2013). In 192 monitoring subplots (1m2 each) in San Francisco, all seedlings and saplings were mapped and tagged. Measurements of height, diameter, herbivory and leaf production were recorded for all individuals, and the number of recruited and dead seedlings was counted every year. Second, allocation patterns and stoichiometry of seedlings of the six most common species were determined across the elevation gradient. Naturally occurring seedlings of the following species were harvested: Clarisia racemosa and Pouteria torta in Bombuscaro, Graffenrieda emarginata and Palicourea angustifolia in San Francisco and Grafferieda harlingii and Hedyosmum purpuracens in Cajanuma. Morphology (biomass allocation, herbivory and foliar areas such as SLA, LAR and LA) and foliar stoichiometry (nutrient contents and N:P ratios) were recorded and analyzed. Third, a reciprocal transplantation experiment (STE) within the NUMEX experimental plots monitored seedlings of the most common species in Bombuscaro, (Pouteria torta), to assess specific responses in seedling performance over one year. These three levels of analysis showed differential responses of the species community and common species to fertilization. Contrary to lowland forests, the community seedlings in this montane forest showed a moderate response. The density of seedling individuals decreased following nutrient addition, as a result of lower recruitment in treatments plots, but mortality was unaffected. Consequently, density-dependent mechanisms activated by additional N uptake did not show evidence of being a main driver to changes in species density. The community of seedlings did not show significant growth in response to fertilization although seedlings were higher in the N treatment. However, N addition increased herbivory over all seedlings and plots, which could have masked other seedlings growth responses. Common species seem to be well adapted to the relatively poor soils since these species were not favored by nutrient addition showing no change in growth or leaf traits. Over the long-term, common species might lose their dominance by being less competitive than faster growing species. However, it would need a longer period of monitoring under continued fertilization to produce visible shifts in community composition. Species-specific responses are hard to determine in such species rich communities. Therefore, analyses of the six common species were conducted to complement the community-level study. Leaf morphology and foliar stoichiometry were assessed from harvested seedling from the experimental plots. Both N and P had effects on seedling traits, suggesting co-limitation of N and P in montane tree species in all elevations. However, foliar N:P ratios and the more frequently response to P addition indicated this nutrient might be more limiting than N along the gradient. Responsiveness of the studied species varied between the six species. Stronger foliar P concentration compared with N in all species but Pouteria torta suggested higher P consumption in montane forest species, similar to the responses of several other tropical plant species after P addition. Increased herbivory was only evident in the opposite responses of G. emarginata (N and N+P addition) and P. angustifolia (P addition) at 2000 m suggesting that plant selection by herbivores is driven by resource quality. Most of the species had higher belowground biomass in root fractions following fertilization, except for G. harlingii at 3000 m, the only species that showed significant increase in aboveground biomass after nutrient addition. Pouteria torta seedlings showed no significant changes in species performance after fertilization one year after establishment of the STE. Pouteria seems to be well-adapted to poor soils, since N and P addition did not alter foliar nutrient concentrations. Nevertheless, N and N+P addition significantly increased mortality and diameter growth rates. P addition resulted in higher leaf area loss and shifted carbon allocation to root growth. These responses indicated consequences in the competitive strength in the understory and recruitment success of Pouteria torta. However, the ambiguous response in some attributes (growth and herbivory) not related with mortality made it difficult to predict the future abundance of this species in long term. In conclusion, complementary studies demonstrated that specific nutrient limitation for N or P in montane species seem not to be a rule in rich species ecosystems although nutrient addition did alter some pattern of growth and survival. Thus, nutrient fertilization might affect various mechanisms and dynamics of plant communities, the balance of which will only play out over long time scales.
Groth, T. (2015): Effects of fragmentation on forest structure and tree size distribution in tropical montane forests in southern Ecuador University of Goettingen, bachelor thesis
Cárate Tandalla, D.; Leuschner, C. & Homeier, J. (2015): Performance of Seedlings of a Shade-Tolerant Tropical Tree Species after Moderate Addition of N and P. Frontiers in Earth Science 3, 75.
- view metadata
- DOI: 10.3389/feart.2015.00075
- Abstract: Nitrogen deposition to t...
- Keywords: | Ecuador | growth | NUMEX | foliar N | foliar P | tropical tree seedlings | herbivory | Pouteria torta |
Abstract:Nitrogen deposition to tropical forests is predicted to increase in future in many regions due to agricultural intensification. We conducted a seedling transplantation experiment in a tropical premontane forest in Ecuador with a locally abundant late-successional tree species (Pouteria torta, Sapotaceae) aimed at detecting species-specific responses to moderate N and P addition and to understand how increasing nutrient availability will affect regeneration. From locally collected seeds, 320 seedlings were produced and transplanted to the plots of the Ecuadorian Nutrient Manipulation Experiment (NUMEX) with three treatments (moderate N addition: 50 kg N ha?1 year?1, moderate P addition: 10 kg P ha?1 year?1 and combined N and P addition) and a control (80 plants per treatment). After 12 months, mortality, relative growth rate, leaf nutrient content and leaf herbivory rate were measured. N and NP addition significantly increased the mortality rate (70 vs. 54% in the control). However, N and P addition also increased the diameter growth rate of the surviving seedlings. N and P addition did not alter foliar nutrient concentrations and leaf N:P ratio, but N addition decreased the leaf C:N ratio and increased SLA. P addition (but not N addition) resulted in higher leaf area loss to herbivore consumption and also shifted carbon allocation to root growth. This fertilization experiment with a common rainforest tree species conducted in old-growth forest shows that already moderate doses of added N and P are affecting seedling performance which most likely will have consequences for the competitive strength in the understory and the recruitment success of P. torta. Simultaneous increases in growth, herbivory and mortality rates make it difficult to assess the species' overall performance and predict how a future increase in nutrient deposition will alter the abundance of this species in the Andean tropical montane forests.
Rehmus, A. (2015): Aluminum toxicity in a tropical montane forest ecosystem in southern Ecuador University of Berne, phd thesis
- log in to download
- view metadata
- Abstract: Aluminum phytotoxicity f...
- Keywords: | tropical tree seedlings | Al toxicity | Al cycling | Hydroponic growth experiment | plant nutrition | hormesis | Al speciation in solution | Ca:Al ratios | Mg:Al ratios | base saturation |
Abstract:Aluminum phytotoxicity frequently occurs in acid soils (pH < 5.5) and was therefore discussed to affect ecosystem functioning of tropical montane forests. The susceptibility to Al toxicity depends on the sensitivity of the plant species and the Al speciation in soil solution, which can vary highly depending e.g., on pH, ionic strength, and dissolved organic matter. An acidification of the ecosystem and periodic base metal deposition from Saharan dust may control plant available Al concentrations in the soil solutions of tropical montane rainforests in south Ecuador. The overall objective of my study was to assess a potential Al phytotoxicity in the tropical montane forests in south Ecuador. For this purpose, I exposed three native Al non-accumulating tree species (Cedrela odorata L., Heliocarpus americanus L., and Tabebuia chrysantha (Jacq.) G. Nicholson) to increased Al concentrations (0 – 2400 ?M Al) in a hydroponic experiment, I established dose-response curves to estimate the sensitivity of the tree species to increased Al concentrations, and I investigated the mechanisms behind the observed effects induced by elevated Al concentrations. Furthermore, the response of Al concentrations and the speciation in soil solution to Ca amendment in the study area were determined. In a final step, I assessed all major Al fluxes, drivers of Al concentrations in ecosystem solutions, and indicators of Al toxicity in the tropical montane rainforest in Ecuador in order to test for indications of Al toxicity. In the hydroponic experiment, a 10 % reduction in aboveground biomass production occurred at 126 to 376 ?M Al (EC10 values), probably attributable to decreased Mg concentrations in leaves and reduced potosynthesis. At 300 ?M Al, increased root biomass production of T. chrysantha was observed. Phosphorus concentrations in roots of C. odorata and T. chrysantha were significantly highest in the treatment with 300 ?M Al and correlated significantly with root biomass, being a likely reason for stimulated root biomass production. The degree of organic complexation of Al in the organic layer leachate, which is central to plant nutrition because of the high root density, and soil solution from the study area was very high (mean > 99 %). The resulting low free Al concentrations are not likely to affect plant growth, although the concentrations of potentially toxic Al3+ increased with soil depth due to higher total Al and lower dissolved organic matter concentrations in soil solutions. The Ca additions caused an increase of Al in the organic layer leachate, probably because Al3+ was exchanged against the added Ca2+ ions while pH remained constant. The free ion molar ratios of Ca2+:Al3+ (mean ratio ca. 400) were far above the threshold (smaller than 1) for Al toxicity, because of a much higher degree of organo-complexation of Al than Ca. High Al fluxes in litterfall (8.8 – 14.2 kg ha?1 yr?1) indicate a high Al circulation through the ecosystem. The Al concentrations in the organic layer leachate were driven by the acidification of the ecosystem and increased significantly between 1999 and 2008. However, the Ca:Al molar ratios in organic layer leachate and all aboveground ecosystem solutions were above the threshold for Al toxicity. Except for two Al accumulating and one non-accumulating tree species, the Ca:Al molar ratios in tree leaves from the study area were above the Al toxicity threshold of 12.5. I conclude that toxic effects in the hydroponic experiment occurred at Al concentrations far above those in native organic layer leachate, shoot biomass production was likely inhibited by reduced Mg uptake, impairing photosynthesis, and the stimulation of root growth at low Al concentrations can be possibly attributed to improved P uptake. Dissolved organic matter in soil solutions detoxifies Al in acidic tropical forest soils and a wide distribution of Al accumulating tree species and high Al fluxes in the ecosystem do not necessarily imply a general Al phytotoxicity.
Rehmus, A.; Bigalke, M.; Valerezo, C.; Mora Castillo, J.R. & Wilcke, W. (2014): Aluminum toxicity to tropical montane forest tree seedlings in southern Ecuador: response of biomass and plant morphology to elevated Al concentrations. Plant and Soil 382(1-2), 301–315.
- log in to download
- view metadata
- DOI: 10.1007/s11104-014-2110-0
- Abstract: Aims: In acid tropical f...
- Keywords: | aluminum toxicity | tropical tree seedlings | dose-response curves | organic layer leachate |
Abstract:Aims: In acid tropical forest soils (pH <5.5)increased mobility of aluminum might limit aboveground productivity. Therefore, we evaluated Al phytotoxicity of three native tree species of tropical montane forests in southern Ecuador. Methods: An hydroponic dose-response experiment was conducted. Seedlings of Cedrela odorata L., Heliocarpus americanus L., and Tabebuia chrysantha(Jacq.) G. Nicholson were treated with 0, 300, 600, 1200, and 2400 ?M Al and an organic layer leachate. Dose-response curves were generated for root and shoot morphologic properties to determine effective concentrations (EC). Results: Shoot biomass and healthy leaf area decreased by 44 % to 83 % at 2400 ?M Al, root biomass did not respond (C. odorata), declined by 51 % (H. americanus), or was stimulated at low Al concentrations of 300 ?M (T. chrysantha). EC10 (i.e. reduction 10 %) values of Al for total biomass were 315 ?M (C. odorata), 219 ?M (H. americanus), and 368 ?M (T. chrysantha). Helicarpus americanus, a fast growing pioneer tree species, was most sensitive to Al toxicity. Negative effects were strongest if plants grew in organic layer leachate, indicating limitation of plant growth by nutrient scarcity rather than Al toxicity. Conclusions: Al toxicity occurred at Al concentrations far above those in native organic layer leachate.