Sapling biomass allocation and growth in the understory of a deciduous hardwood forest

E. H. DeLucia, T. W. Sipe, J. Herrick, H. Maherali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Above- and belowground tissues of co-occurring saplings (0.1-1 m height) of Acer saccharum Marsh. (very shade tolerant), Acer rubrum L. (shade tolerant), Fraxinus americana L. (intermediate shade tolerant), and Prunus serotina Ehrh. (shade intolerant) were harvested from a forest understory to test the hypothesis that the pattern of biomass allocation varied predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The placement and length of branches along the main axis were consistent with the formation of a monolayer of foliage for the tolerant and intermediate species. Other morphological characteristics did not vary predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The maintenance of high specific leaf area (SLA; leaf area/leaf mass) and leaf area ratio (LAR; leaf area/sapling mass) is considered important for growth under extreme shade, yet these traits were not clearly related to the shade-tolerance rank of these species. Fraxinus americana, an intermediate species, had the highest LAR and growth rate in the understory, and with the exception of P. serotina, the very shade-tolerant A. saccharum had the lowest LAR. Prunus serotina maintained a large starch-rich tap root and shoot dieback was common, yielding the largest root/shoot ratio for these species. The observed allocation patterns were not similar to the long-standing expectation for the phenotypic response of juvenile trees to shade, but were consistent with three hypothetical 'growth strategies' in the understory: (1) the low SLA and LAR of A. saccharum may provide a measure of defense against herbivores and pathogens and thus promote persistence in the understory, (2) the high SLA for F. americana and high LAR for F. americana and A. rubrum may enable these species to achieve high growth rates in shade, and (3) the large carbohydrate stores of P. serotina may poise this species for opportunistic growth following disturbance. The relative importance of resistance to herbivores and pathogens vs. the maintenance of high growth rates may be important in evaluating the patterns of biomass allocation in the understory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-963
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume85
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

Fingerprint

biomass allocation
hardwood forests
dry matter partitioning
sapling
saplings
deciduous forests
deciduous forest
Biomass
Acer
understory
shade
Fraxinus americana
Prunus serotina
shade tolerance
leaf area
Growth
Fraxinus
Acer saccharum
Herbivory
Acer rubrum

Keywords

  • Acer
  • Fraxinus
  • Light environment
  • Nitrogen
  • Prunus
  • Root/shoot ratio
  • Shade tolerance
  • Starch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Sapling biomass allocation and growth in the understory of a deciduous hardwood forest. / DeLucia, E. H.; Sipe, T. W.; Herrick, J.; Maherali, H.

In: American journal of botany, Vol. 85, No. 7, 01.01.1998, p. 955-963.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DeLucia, E. H. ; Sipe, T. W. ; Herrick, J. ; Maherali, H. / Sapling biomass allocation and growth in the understory of a deciduous hardwood forest. In: American journal of botany. 1998 ; Vol. 85, No. 7. pp. 955-963.
@article{6778e536959541dbbfd2100ab256dba8,
title = "Sapling biomass allocation and growth in the understory of a deciduous hardwood forest",
abstract = "Above- and belowground tissues of co-occurring saplings (0.1-1 m height) of Acer saccharum Marsh. (very shade tolerant), Acer rubrum L. (shade tolerant), Fraxinus americana L. (intermediate shade tolerant), and Prunus serotina Ehrh. (shade intolerant) were harvested from a forest understory to test the hypothesis that the pattern of biomass allocation varied predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The placement and length of branches along the main axis were consistent with the formation of a monolayer of foliage for the tolerant and intermediate species. Other morphological characteristics did not vary predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The maintenance of high specific leaf area (SLA; leaf area/leaf mass) and leaf area ratio (LAR; leaf area/sapling mass) is considered important for growth under extreme shade, yet these traits were not clearly related to the shade-tolerance rank of these species. Fraxinus americana, an intermediate species, had the highest LAR and growth rate in the understory, and with the exception of P. serotina, the very shade-tolerant A. saccharum had the lowest LAR. Prunus serotina maintained a large starch-rich tap root and shoot dieback was common, yielding the largest root/shoot ratio for these species. The observed allocation patterns were not similar to the long-standing expectation for the phenotypic response of juvenile trees to shade, but were consistent with three hypothetical 'growth strategies' in the understory: (1) the low SLA and LAR of A. saccharum may provide a measure of defense against herbivores and pathogens and thus promote persistence in the understory, (2) the high SLA for F. americana and high LAR for F. americana and A. rubrum may enable these species to achieve high growth rates in shade, and (3) the large carbohydrate stores of P. serotina may poise this species for opportunistic growth following disturbance. The relative importance of resistance to herbivores and pathogens vs. the maintenance of high growth rates may be important in evaluating the patterns of biomass allocation in the understory.",
keywords = "Acer, Fraxinus, Light environment, Nitrogen, Prunus, Root/shoot ratio, Shade tolerance, Starch",
author = "DeLucia, {E. H.} and Sipe, {T. W.} and J. Herrick and H. Maherali",
year = "1998",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.2307/2446362",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "85",
pages = "955--963",
journal = "American Journal of Botany",
issn = "0002-9122",
publisher = "John Wiley & Sons Inc.",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sapling biomass allocation and growth in the understory of a deciduous hardwood forest

AU - DeLucia, E. H.

AU - Sipe, T. W.

AU - Herrick, J.

AU - Maherali, H.

PY - 1998/1/1

Y1 - 1998/1/1

N2 - Above- and belowground tissues of co-occurring saplings (0.1-1 m height) of Acer saccharum Marsh. (very shade tolerant), Acer rubrum L. (shade tolerant), Fraxinus americana L. (intermediate shade tolerant), and Prunus serotina Ehrh. (shade intolerant) were harvested from a forest understory to test the hypothesis that the pattern of biomass allocation varied predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The placement and length of branches along the main axis were consistent with the formation of a monolayer of foliage for the tolerant and intermediate species. Other morphological characteristics did not vary predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The maintenance of high specific leaf area (SLA; leaf area/leaf mass) and leaf area ratio (LAR; leaf area/sapling mass) is considered important for growth under extreme shade, yet these traits were not clearly related to the shade-tolerance rank of these species. Fraxinus americana, an intermediate species, had the highest LAR and growth rate in the understory, and with the exception of P. serotina, the very shade-tolerant A. saccharum had the lowest LAR. Prunus serotina maintained a large starch-rich tap root and shoot dieback was common, yielding the largest root/shoot ratio for these species. The observed allocation patterns were not similar to the long-standing expectation for the phenotypic response of juvenile trees to shade, but were consistent with three hypothetical 'growth strategies' in the understory: (1) the low SLA and LAR of A. saccharum may provide a measure of defense against herbivores and pathogens and thus promote persistence in the understory, (2) the high SLA for F. americana and high LAR for F. americana and A. rubrum may enable these species to achieve high growth rates in shade, and (3) the large carbohydrate stores of P. serotina may poise this species for opportunistic growth following disturbance. The relative importance of resistance to herbivores and pathogens vs. the maintenance of high growth rates may be important in evaluating the patterns of biomass allocation in the understory.

AB - Above- and belowground tissues of co-occurring saplings (0.1-1 m height) of Acer saccharum Marsh. (very shade tolerant), Acer rubrum L. (shade tolerant), Fraxinus americana L. (intermediate shade tolerant), and Prunus serotina Ehrh. (shade intolerant) were harvested from a forest understory to test the hypothesis that the pattern of biomass allocation varied predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The placement and length of branches along the main axis were consistent with the formation of a monolayer of foliage for the tolerant and intermediate species. Other morphological characteristics did not vary predictably with shade-tolerance rank. The maintenance of high specific leaf area (SLA; leaf area/leaf mass) and leaf area ratio (LAR; leaf area/sapling mass) is considered important for growth under extreme shade, yet these traits were not clearly related to the shade-tolerance rank of these species. Fraxinus americana, an intermediate species, had the highest LAR and growth rate in the understory, and with the exception of P. serotina, the very shade-tolerant A. saccharum had the lowest LAR. Prunus serotina maintained a large starch-rich tap root and shoot dieback was common, yielding the largest root/shoot ratio for these species. The observed allocation patterns were not similar to the long-standing expectation for the phenotypic response of juvenile trees to shade, but were consistent with three hypothetical 'growth strategies' in the understory: (1) the low SLA and LAR of A. saccharum may provide a measure of defense against herbivores and pathogens and thus promote persistence in the understory, (2) the high SLA for F. americana and high LAR for F. americana and A. rubrum may enable these species to achieve high growth rates in shade, and (3) the large carbohydrate stores of P. serotina may poise this species for opportunistic growth following disturbance. The relative importance of resistance to herbivores and pathogens vs. the maintenance of high growth rates may be important in evaluating the patterns of biomass allocation in the understory.

KW - Acer

KW - Fraxinus

KW - Light environment

KW - Nitrogen

KW - Prunus

KW - Root/shoot ratio

KW - Shade tolerance

KW - Starch

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0032229382&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0032229382&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2307/2446362

DO - 10.2307/2446362

M3 - Article

C2 - 21684979

AN - SCOPUS:0032229382

VL - 85

SP - 955

EP - 963

JO - American Journal of Botany

JF - American Journal of Botany

SN - 0002-9122

IS - 7

ER -