Biomass allocation of chestnut oak (Quercus castaneifolia C.A. Mey) seedlings: effects of provenance and light gradient

https://doi.org/10.17221/1/2014-JFSCitation:Babaei Sustani F., Jalali S.G., Sohrabi H., Shirvani A. (2014): Biomass allocation of chestnut oak (Quercus castaneifolia C.A. Mey) seedlings: effects of provenance and light gradient. J. For. Sci., 60: 443-450.
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Patterns of biomass allocation were determined for seedlings of five provenances of Quercus castaneifolia from west to east of the Hyrcanian forest along a rainfall gradient. Experimental design was executed under controlled conditions at seven different light levels (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 100% full light). We quantified the biomass allocation patterns to leaves, stems and roots. For all provenances total mass increased with irradiance at low light levels, reaching an optimum at an intermediate level but decreasing at a high irradiance level. As results show, in drier provenances and at high light levels, the seedlings invest more biomass into root mass to facilitate water uptake and to alter their leaf size to prevent overheating. In contrast, at wetter provenances and low light levels, towards increased light interception, more biomass is allocated proportionally to leaves and the stems but, accordingly, less to roots. The leaf to root ratio (L/R) was negatively correlated with light, with high correlation at wetter provenances compared to drier ones. In contrast, the relationship between the root to shoot (R/Sh) ratio and light was positively correlated with light, but it was weak at drier provenances and became gradually stronger at wetter ones. Such relationships indicated that chestnut oak seedling growth strategies are different along a rainfall gradient to irradiance levels. Despite similar growth conditions in the greenhouse, different growth strategies may be the result of genetic adaptation to the ecological conditions, especially when precipitation regimes prevail in the native habitat.  
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