Seed bank and regeneration dynamics of Emmenopterys henryi population on the western side of Wuyi Mountain, South China
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- Guo, L., Xue, P., Li, M. et al. J. For. Res. (2017). doi:10.1007/s11676-017-0376-9
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Emmenopterys henryi Oliv. (Rubiaceae) is an endangered tree species that is native to China. The wild populations of E. henryi have declined rapidly because of its poor natural regeneration, but the actual regeneration processes are not yet understood. In field tracking surveys and experiments in the Wuyishan Nature Reserve in Southeast China to determine the most important stage that affects the regeneration process, seed bank characteristics, seed germination, and seedling growth dynamics were studied in the typical habitats of E. henryi, Phyllostachys pubescens and broad-leaved forests. Results showed that in both P. pubescens and broad-leaved forests, more than 70% of the E. henryi seeds were distributed in moss and litter layers, and few were found in the soil beneath them. However, seed germination in the soil layer was significantly higher than in the moss and litter layers. Seed density, overall seed quality, and germination rate in the broad-leaved forest were significantly higher than in P. pubescens forest. Seed germination was highest in the microsites around the edge of the crown projection area of E. henryi mother trees. The order of survival rate of the seedlings on different ground surfaces was soil > moss > litter. In both habitats, the average seed density was 24.9 seeds m−2, and the total germination rate was less than 3.5‰. However, seedlings developed from only 1% of the germinated seeds, indicating that the seed germination is the most important stage in the natural regeneration of E. henryi.