Journal Article

Branch growth and biomass allocation in <i>Abies amabilis</i> saplings in contrasting light environments

David A. King

in Tree Physiology

Volume 17, issue 4, pages 251-258
Published in print April 1997 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online April 1997 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/17.4.251
Branch growth and biomass allocation in Abies amabilis saplings in contrasting light environments

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Aboveground biomass allocation, and height and branch growth were studied in saplings of the shade-tolerant conifer, Abies amabilis Dougl. ex Forbes growing in large openings and in the understory of an old-growth forest in western Oregon. The presence of annual overwintering budscale scars was used to infer extension growth histories; annual growth rings in branches and stems were used in combination with extension histories to compute partitioning of new biomass among leaves, branches and stems. Saplings growing in large gaps had conical crowns, whereas understory saplings had umbrella shaped crowns as a result of much greater rates of branch extension than stem extension. Understory saplings grew slowly in height because of low rates of biomass production and low allocation of biomass to stem extension. About 40% of new biomass was allocated to foliage in both groups, but understory saplings allocated more of the remaining growth increment to branches and less to stem than did saplings growing in large gaps.

These results differ from the patterns observed in shade-tolerant saplings of tropical forests, where allocation to foliage increases with shading and branch allocation is much lower than observed here. This difference in allocation may reflect mechanical constraints imposed by snow loads on the evergreen A. amabilis crowns, particularly on flat-crowned understory saplings.

Keywords: allometry; branch growth; conifer; height growth

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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