Journal Article

Leaf-level acclimation to gap creation in mature <i>Acer saccharum</i> trees

T. A. Jones and S. C. Thomas

in Tree Physiology

Volume 27, issue 2, pages 281-290
Published in print February 2007 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Leaf-level acclimation to gap creation in mature Acer saccharum trees

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Leaf-level morphological and physiological responses of mature, winter-deciduous, shade-tolerant Acer saccharum Marsh. trees to gap formation caused by selection harvest were studied experimentally over a 2-year period. We found no evidence for either physiological stress or positive acclimation following gap creation during the 1–2-week post-harvest period. Rather, lower-canopy leaves showed gradual increases in area-based maximum photosynthetic rates (Amax-area), stomatal conductance (gs), and leaf nitrogen concentration (Narea) over the entire 2-year study. These acclimation responses were directly related to changes in leaf mass per unit area (LMA) in the subsequent two leaf flushes. No change in Amax-area, gs, Narea, or photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency was observed that could not be accounted for by changes in LMA. The gradual acclimation responses in the lower canopy may account, in whole or in part, for the ∼2-year lag in post-harvest growth response observed in Acer saccharum.

Keywords: canopy trees; gap creation; gas exchange; leaf morphology; light acclimation; nitrogen content; photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency; selection management; shade leaves; sun leaves

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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