Global Advanced Research Journal of Agricultural Science (GARJAS) ISSN: 2315-5094

February 2013 Vol. 2(2): pp. 047-058

Copyright © 2015 Global Advanced Research Journals

 

Full Length Research Paper

Early growth, biomass allocation and water use efficiency of three species of tropical tree seedlings at four moisture level

Egbe Enow Andrew1*, Forkwa Etienne Yong1, Mokake Ebenye Seraphine2 and Ngane E. Bessem3

 

Department of Botany and Plant Physiology, University of Buea, P.O.BOX 63 Buea, Cameroon.

2. Department of Plant Biology, University of Douala Cameroon P.O. Box 24157, Douala, Cameroon.

3. Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory, Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, (IRAD) EKona, Cameroon.

*Corresponding Author’s E-mail: egbe1@yahoo.com;

Tel: 237-77671037; FAX: 237 3332 22 72

Accepted 19 February, 2013

 

Abstract

Afforestation or reforestation of degraded water catchment with tree species that have good growth performance and low water-use efficiency is paramount in sustainable water catchment management. This study evaluates the growth performance of three species of tree seedlings (Eucalyptus grandisAlbizia ferrugineaand Erythrina excelsa) treated at four moisture levels (12.5, 25, 50 and 100%) of the soil field capacity for a period of six months.  The species were also assessed for their rate of transpiration, evapotranspiration and water-use efficiency. Results indicates that the species had best morphological growth when treated with 50% soil moisture level and this was not significantly different from seedlings with 100% soil moisture level. The least growth performance was in seedlings treated with 12.5% soil moisture level. Total biomass of Albizia seedlings was best in 50% soil moisture level (51.9g) while 100% was best for Erythrina (54.6g) andEucalyptus (27.7g).  Root/shoot ratios were greater than 1.0 in all the treatments for Albizia while in Eucalyptus it was less than 1.0.  Rate of transpiration varied significantly (P≤ 0.03) with the highest value in Erythrina (0.23gH2O/s/m2) and the least in Eucalyptus (0.11gH2O/s/m2). Rate of evapotranspiration did not differ significantly (P≤ 0.13) for the different tree seedlings. Water-use efficiencies differed significantly (P≤ 0.001) with Albizia requiring the least (1173ml/g) andEucalyptus needing the highest (2388ml/g)amount of water to produce 1g of biomass. Albizia ferruginea is more suitable for aforestation/reforestation of water catchment areas than the other two species. 

Keywords: Growth parameters, Soil moisture levels, Transpiration, Water-use efficiency, Water catchment areas, soil field capacity.

 

 

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