Air pollution and reproductive processes in natural plant species
At low ambient levels of air pollution, invisible injury to plants such as reductions in vegetative and generative reproduction may lead to reduced fitness of the population. Although current ambient air pollution concentrations are variable in time, they can influence the natural species richness and vegetation composition by reducing growth and seed production. The data available on this subject indicate that air pollutants can indeed inhibit flower production, pollen germination and development, reduce seed filling and increase seed abortion, thus reducing the genetic variation within the population. In the presence of air pollution, seeds often fail to germinate and when germinated, seedling mortality can increase. The nature of seedling spacing and frequency of reseeding grass fields increases plant sensitivity to air pollution.
The available data in air pollutant effects on reproduction in relation to the additional influence of other abiotic or biotic stresses is discussed.
KeywordsSulphur Dioxide Pollen Germination Natural Plant Species Natural Species Richness Grass Sward
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