Physiological Ecology of Trees and Application to Forest Management

  • Ernesto Medina
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 112)


There are numerous interactions between tree physiological ecology and forest management that require implementation in order to cope with the challenge of global change, namely, to reduce the pressure on native forests, improve recovery of degraded lands, and increase both wood production and carbon sinks in the terrestrial biosphere. Applying ecophysiological concepts and techniques to the analysis of tree performance in native and plantation forests constitutes a powerful approach to understanding the interaction of growth-limiting factors under natural conditions and to developing a basis for the selection of relevant physiological traits for tree cultivation, such as drought tolerance and nutrient use efficiency. The existing knowledge on these subjects has been applied to forest management, particularly in temperate regions, but it needs to be utilized in the tropics. Other areas require intensified research to increase understanding of forest production and to provide quantitative tools for the assessment of potential climatic changes. Subjects deserving particular emphasis are the study of seedling physiology in natural environments, the assessment of the significance of symbiotic associations for water and nutrient supply, and the development of multivariate ecosystem experiments as a basis for the prediction of short- and medium-term ecosystem responses to environmental variables.


Leaf Area Water Stress Forest Management Photosynthetic Active Radiation Leaf Area Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Agren, G.I. 1985. Theory for growth of plants derived from the nitrogen productivity concept. Physiologia Plantarum64: 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berendse, F., and R. Aerts. 1987. Nitrogen use efficiency: A biologically useful definition? Functional Ecology1: 293–296.Google Scholar
  3. Björkman, O. 1968. Carboxydismutase activity in shade and sun adapted species of higher plants. Physiologia Plantarum21: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Björkman, O. 1982. Responses to different quantarum flux densities. Pages 57–107 in O.L. Lange, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond, and H. Ziegler, editors.Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol. 12A. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  5. Boerner, R.E.J. 1984. Foliar nutrient dynamics and nutrient-use efficiency of four deciduous tree species in relation to site fertility. Journal of Applied Ecology21: 1029–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowen, G.D. 1984. Tree roots and the use of soil nutrients. Pages 147–149 in G.D. Bowen and E.K.S. Nambiar, editors.Nutrition of Plantation Forests. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  7. Chapin, F.S. III, and R.A. Kedrowski. 1983. Seasonal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus fractions and autumn retranslocation in evergreens and deciduous taiga trees. Ecology64: 376–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cuevas, E., and E. Medina. 1986. Nutrient dynamics with Amazonian forest ecosystems.1. Nutrient flux in fine litterfall and efficiency of nutrient utilization. Oecologia68: 466–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Detweiler, R.P, and C.A.S. Hall. 1988. Tropical forests and the global carbon cycle. Science239: 42–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans, J.R. 1989. Photosynthesis and nitrogen relationships in leaves of C3 plants. Oecologia78: 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Farquhar, G.D., M.H.O. O’Leary, and J.A. Berry. 1982. On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology9: 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farquhar, G.D., and T.D. Sharkey. 1982. Stomata and photosynthesis. Annual Review of Plant Physiology33: 317–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fearnside, P.M. 1982. Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon: How fast is it ocurring? Interciencia7: 82–88.Google Scholar
  14. Field, C., and H.A. Mooney. 1986. The photosynthesis-nitrogen relationship in wild plants. Pages 25–55 in T.G. Givnish, editor.On the Economy of Plant Form and Function. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  15. Gerlof, G.C., and W.H. Gabelman. 1983. Genetic basis of inorganic plant nutrition. Pages 453–480 in A. Pirson and M.Z. Zimmerman, editors.Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol. 15B. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  16. Herrera, R., T. Merida, N. Stark, and C.F. Jordan. 1978. Direct phosphorus transfer from dead litter to roots. Naturwissenchaften65: 208–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holdridge, L.R. 1967.Life Zone Ecology. Tropical Science Center, San José, Costa Rica.Google Scholar
  18. Houghton, R.A. 1987. Terrestrial metabolism and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. BioScience37: 672–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hsiao, T.C., E. Acevedo, E. Fereres, and D.W. Henderson. 1976. Stress metabolism: Water stress, growth and osmotic adjustment. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society. Series B273: 479–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Janos, D. 1975.Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plant Growth in a Costa Rican Lowland Rainforest. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  21. Jarvis, PG., and J.W. Leverenz. 1983. Productivity of temperate, deciduous and evergreen forests. Pages 234–280 in O.L. Lange, PS. Nobel, C.B. Osmond, and H. Ziegler, editors.Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol. 12D. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  22. Jordan, C.F., and J. Kline. 1977. Transpiration of trees in a tropical rainforest. Journal of Applied Ecology14: 853–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kinzel, H. 1984. Beitrag zur Charakterisierung and Veranschaulichung eines taxonspezifischen (physiotypischen) Mineral stoffwechsels. Flora176: 25–36.Google Scholar
  24. Kira, T. 1975. Primary productionof forests. Pages 5–40 in J.P. Cooper, editor. Photosythesis and Productivity in Different Environments. International Biological Programme 3. Campbridge University Press, Campbridge.Google Scholar
  25. Kost, J.A., and R.E.J. Boerner. 1985. Foliar nutrient dynamics and nutrient use efficiency inCorpus florida. Oecologia66: 602–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kramer, P F 1985. The role of physiology in forestry. Tree Physiology2: 1–16.Google Scholar
  27. Lieth, H. 1975. Modeling the primary productivity of the world. Pages 237-264 in H. Lieth and R.H. Whittaker, editors. Primary Productivity of the Biosphere. Ecological Studies 14. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  28. Lange, O.L., R. Lösch, E.-D. Schulze, and L. Kappen. 1971. Responses of stomata changes in humidity. Planta100: 76–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malingreau, J.P, and C.J. Tucker. 1988. Large-scale deforestation in the southeastern Amazon basin of Brazil. Ambio 17: 49–55.Google Scholar
  30. Medina, E. 1971. Effect of nitrogen supply and light intensity during growth on the photosynthetic capacity and carbonxydismutase activity of leaves ofAtriplex hestataspp.hestata. Carnegie Institution Year Book70: 551–559.Google Scholar
  31. Medina, E. 1981.Nitrogen Content, Leaf Structure and Photosynthesis in Higher Plants: A Report to the UNEP Study Group on Photosynthesis and Bioproductivity. Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas, Caracas, Venezuela.Google Scholar
  32. Medina, E. 1984. Nutrient balance and physiological processes at the leaf level. Pages 139–154 in E. Medina, H.A. Mooney, and C. Vazquez Yanes, editors.Physiological Ecology of Plants of the Wet Tropics. Dr. W. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  33. Medina, E., and E. Cuevas. 1989. Patterns of nutrient accumulation and release in Amazonian forests of the upper Río Negro basin. Pages 217–240 in J. Proctor, editor.Nutrient Cycling in Tropical Forests and Savannas. Blackwell Scientific Publications, London.Google Scholar
  34. Medina, E., G. Montes, E. Cuevas, and Z. Roksandic. 1986. Profiles of CO2 concentration and δ13C values in tropical rainforests of the upper Río Negro basin, Venezuela. Journal of Tropical Ecology2: 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Medina E., O. Olivares, and D. Marin. 1985. Eco-physiological adaptations in the use of water and nutrients by woody plants of arid and semi-arid tropical regions. Medio Ambiente (Chile)7: 91–102.Google Scholar
  36. Meinzer, F., V Seymour, and G. Goldstein. 1983. Water balance in developing leaves of four tropical savanna woody species. Oecologia60: 237–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Monteith, J.L. 1972. Solar radiation and productivity in tropical ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology9: 747–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mooney, H.A., and S.L. Gulmon. 1982. Constraints on leaf structure and function in reference to herbivory. BioScience32: 198–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Odum, H.T. 1970. Summary: An emerging view of the ecological system at El Verde. Pages H191–H289 in H.T. Odum and R.F. Pigeon, editors.A Tropical Rain Forest. National Technical Information Service. Springfield, Virginia.Google Scholar
  40. Osmond, C.B. 1987. Photosynthesis and carbon economy of plants. New Phytologist106(Supplement): 161–175.Google Scholar
  41. Osonubi, O., R. Oren, K.S. Werk, E.D. Schulze, and H. Heimeir. 1988. Performance of twoPicea abies(L) Karst. stands at different stages of decline. IV Xylem sap concentrations of magnesium, calcium, potassium and nitrogen. Oecologia77: 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robichaux, R.H., P Rundel, L. Stemmermann, J.E. Canfield, S.R. Morse, and E. Friedman. 1984. Pages 99–112 in E. Medina, H.A. Mooney, and C. Vázques Yanes, editors.Physiological Ecology of Plants of the Wet Tropics. Dr. W. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  43. Rosenzweig, M.L. 1968. Net primary productivity of terrestrial communities: Predictions from climatological data. American Naturalist102: 67–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. St. John, T.V, and C. Uhl. 1983. Mycorrhizae in the rainforest of San Carlos de Río Negro, Venezuela. Acta Científica Venezolana39: 233–237.Google Scholar
  45. Scholander, RE, H.T. Hammel, E.D. Bradstreet, and E.A. Hemmingsen. 1965. Sap pressure in vascular plants. Science148: 339–346.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schulze, E.D., N.C. Turner, T. Gollan, and K.A. Shakel. 1987. Stomatal responses to air humidity and to soil drought. Pages 311–322 in E. Zeiger, G.D Farquhar, and I.R. Cowan, editors.Stomatal Function. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.Google Scholar
  47. Small, E. 1972. Photosynthetic rates in relation to nitrogen cycling as an adaptation to nutrient deficiency in peat bog plants. Canadian Journal of Botany50: 2227–2233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sobrado, M.A. 1986. Aspects of tissue water relations and seasonal changes of leaf water potential components of evergreen and deciduous species coexisting in tropical dry forests. Oecologia68: 413–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stark, N., and C. Spitzner. 1985. Xylem sap analysis of determining the nutrient status and growth ofPinus ponderosa. Canadian Journal of Forest Research15: 783–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stark, N., C. Spitzner, and D. Essig. 1985. Xylem sap analysis for determining nutritional status of trees:Pseudotsuga menziesii. Canadian Journal of Forest Research15: 429–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tyree, M.T. 1976. Physical parameters of the soil-plant-atmosphere system: Breeding for drought resistance characteristics that might improve wood yield. Pages 328–348 in M.G.R. Cannell and F.T. Last, editors.Tree Physiology and Yield Improvement. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  52. Tyree, M.T., and P.G. Jarvis. 1982. Water in tissues and cells. Pages 35–77 in O.L. Lange, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond, and H. Ziegler, editors.Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, Vol. 12B. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  53. van der Merwe, N.J., and E. Medina. 1989. Photosynthetic and 13C/12 C ratios in Amazonian rain forests. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 53: 1091–1094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vitousek, P 1982. Nutrient cycling and nutrient use efficiency. American Naturalist119: 553–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vitousek, P 1984. Litterfall, nutrient cycling, and nutrient limitation in tropical forests. Ecology65: 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Walter, H. 1973.Die Vegetation der Erde, Vol.1, 3rd edition. VEB Fischer Verlag, Jena.Google Scholar
  57. Waring, R.H., PE. Schroeder, and R. Oren. 1982. Application of the pipe model theory to predict canopy leaf area. Canadian Journal of Forest Research12: 556–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Whitehead, D. 1978. The estimation of foliage area from sap wood basal area in Scots pine. Forestry51: 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Medina

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations