, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 443–449

Potential advantages and disadvantages of germinating early for trees in floodplain forests

  • R. H. Jones
  • R. R. Sharitz
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00378950

Cite this article as:
Jones, R.H. & Sharitz, R.R. Oecologia (1989) 81: 443. doi:10.1007/BF00378950


Seedlings of Acer rubrum, Carpinus caroliniana, and Platanus occidentalis were germinated and grown under contrasting light regimes: varied light (59% of the abovecanopy photon flux incrementally decreased to 9%, simulating a forest understory during canopy leaf-out) and low light (constantly less than 10%, simulating an understory after leaf-out). By the time that light in both treatments was equilibrated at 9%, 44 days after the first germination, varied light plants were an order of magnitude larger than low light plants. However, in the remainder of the experiment, during which all plants were kept at 9% light, varied light plants had lower relative growth due to: 1) lower leaf area per unit of plant mass; and 2) lower net productivity per unit of leaf area. A subset of plants were flooded after light equilibration, resulting in reduced growth. Varied and low light plants were equally affected by flooding. Reported differences among species in shade tolerance were poorly correlated with differences in response to light treatment.

Key words

Bottomland hardwoods Photosynthesis Stomatal conductance Flooding Shade tolerance 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Jones
    • 1
  • R. R. Sharitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryAikenUSA
  2. 2.School of ForestryAuburn UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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