, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 299-308

Effect of Acacia plantations on net photosynthesis, tree species composition, soil enzyme activities, and microclimate on Mt. Makiling

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To determine the effectiveness of rehabilitation on improving ecosystem functions, we examined net photosynthetic rate (P N), tree species composition, soil enzyme activities, and the microclimate (air and soil temperature, relative humidity) of an area on Mt. Makiling that has been rehabilitated and protected from fire for over 12 years. After it was last burned extensively in 1991, restoration was initiated by planting Acacia mangium and Acacia auriculiformis. We selected three areas to study in 2003. Two areas were rehabilitated with A. mangium and A. auriculiformis, and one was still dominated by Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum spontaneum. P N of A. mangium and A. auriculiformis showed significantly lower values than those of I. cylindrica and S. spontaneum. The Acacia plantations had more naturally regenerated tree species than the grassland. Additionally, more tree species appeared in the A. mangium plantation than in the A. auriculiformis plantation. Ficus spetica was present in all of the study sites. Dehydrogenase and phosphatase activities were significantly higher in soil under the Acacia plantations than under grassland. Grassland showed higher air temperature, relative humidity, and soil temperature as well as a larger variation per hour in these parameters compared to the Acacia plantations. The highest air temperature, relative humidity, and soil temperature were measured in April during the dry season. From the regression analysis, soil temperature was significantly correlated with air temperature. Hence plantations, as a rehabilitation activity for grassland, promote natural regeneration and stabilize the microclimate. This stabilization of the microclimate affects establishment and growth of naturally occurring tree species.