Variation in vegetation cover and seedling performance of tree species in a forest-savanna ecotone

Hamza Issifu, George K.D. Ametsitsi, Lana J. De Vries, Gloria Djaney Djagbletey, Stephen Adu-Bredu, Philippine Vergeer, Frank Van Langevelde, Elmar Veenendaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Differential tree seedling recruitment across forest-savanna ecotones is poorly understood, but hypothesized to be influenced by vegetation cover and associated factors. In a 3-y-long field transplant experiment in the forest-savanna ecotone of Ghana, we assessed performance and root allocation of 864 seedlings for two forest (Khaya ivorensis and Terminalia superba) and two savanna (Khaya senegalensis and Terminalia macroptera) species in savanna woodland, closed-woodland and forest. Herbaceous vegetation biomass was significantly higher in savanna woodland (1.0 ± 0.4 kg m-2 vs 0.2 ± 0.1 kg m-2 in forest) and hence expected fire intensities, while some soil properties were improved in forest. Regardless, seedling survival declined significantly in the first-year dry-season for all species with huge declines for the forest species (50% vs 6% for Khaya and 16% vs 2% for Terminalia) by year 2. After 3 y, only savanna species survived in savanna woodland. However, best performance for savanna Khaya was in forest, but in savanna woodland for savanna Terminalia which also had the highest biomass fraction (0.8 ± 0.1 g g-1 vs 0.6 ± 0.1 g g-1 and 0.4 ± 0.1 g g-1) and starch concentration (27% ± 10% vs 15% ± 7% and 10% ± 4%) in roots relative to savanna and forest Khaya respectively. Our results demonstrate that tree cover variation has species-specific effects on tree seedling recruitment which is related to root storage functions.

LanguageEnglish
Pages74-82
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume35
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Fingerprint

ecotones
ecotone
vegetation cover
savanna
savannas
seedling
seedlings
Khaya
woodlands
woodland
Terminalia
Khaya ivorensis
Terminalia superba
Khaya senegalensis
forest decline
fire intensity
biomass
Ghana
starch
dry season

Keywords

  • Biomass allocation
  • canopy cover
  • drought survival
  • fuel load
  • root starch
  • seedling traits
  • soil properties
  • tropical trees

Cite this

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title = "Variation in vegetation cover and seedling performance of tree species in a forest-savanna ecotone",
abstract = "Differential tree seedling recruitment across forest-savanna ecotones is poorly understood, but hypothesized to be influenced by vegetation cover and associated factors. In a 3-y-long field transplant experiment in the forest-savanna ecotone of Ghana, we assessed performance and root allocation of 864 seedlings for two forest (Khaya ivorensis and Terminalia superba) and two savanna (Khaya senegalensis and Terminalia macroptera) species in savanna woodland, closed-woodland and forest. Herbaceous vegetation biomass was significantly higher in savanna woodland (1.0 ± 0.4 kg m-2 vs 0.2 ± 0.1 kg m-2 in forest) and hence expected fire intensities, while some soil properties were improved in forest. Regardless, seedling survival declined significantly in the first-year dry-season for all species with huge declines for the forest species (50{\%} vs 6{\%} for Khaya and 16{\%} vs 2{\%} for Terminalia) by year 2. After 3 y, only savanna species survived in savanna woodland. However, best performance for savanna Khaya was in forest, but in savanna woodland for savanna Terminalia which also had the highest biomass fraction (0.8 ± 0.1 g g-1 vs 0.6 ± 0.1 g g-1 and 0.4 ± 0.1 g g-1) and starch concentration (27{\%} ± 10{\%} vs 15{\%} ± 7{\%} and 10{\%} ± 4{\%}) in roots relative to savanna and forest Khaya respectively. Our results demonstrate that tree cover variation has species-specific effects on tree seedling recruitment which is related to root storage functions.",
keywords = "Biomass allocation, canopy cover, drought survival, fuel load, root starch, seedling traits, soil properties, tropical trees",
author = "Hamza Issifu and Ametsitsi, {George K.D.} and {De Vries}, {Lana J.} and Djagbletey, {Gloria Djaney} and Stephen Adu-Bredu and Philippine Vergeer and {Van Langevelde}, Frank and Elmar Veenendaal",
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language = "English",
volume = "35",
pages = "74--82",
journal = "Journal of Tropical Ecology",
issn = "0266-4674",
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Variation in vegetation cover and seedling performance of tree species in a forest-savanna ecotone. / Issifu, Hamza; Ametsitsi, George K.D.; De Vries, Lana J.; Djagbletey, Gloria Djaney; Adu-Bredu, Stephen; Vergeer, Philippine; Van Langevelde, Frank; Veenendaal, Elmar.

In: Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 35, No. 2, 03.2019, p. 74-82.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Variation in vegetation cover and seedling performance of tree species in a forest-savanna ecotone

AU - Issifu, Hamza

AU - Ametsitsi, George K.D.

AU - De Vries, Lana J.

AU - Djagbletey, Gloria Djaney

AU - Adu-Bredu, Stephen

AU - Vergeer, Philippine

AU - Van Langevelde, Frank

AU - Veenendaal, Elmar

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N2 - Differential tree seedling recruitment across forest-savanna ecotones is poorly understood, but hypothesized to be influenced by vegetation cover and associated factors. In a 3-y-long field transplant experiment in the forest-savanna ecotone of Ghana, we assessed performance and root allocation of 864 seedlings for two forest (Khaya ivorensis and Terminalia superba) and two savanna (Khaya senegalensis and Terminalia macroptera) species in savanna woodland, closed-woodland and forest. Herbaceous vegetation biomass was significantly higher in savanna woodland (1.0 ± 0.4 kg m-2 vs 0.2 ± 0.1 kg m-2 in forest) and hence expected fire intensities, while some soil properties were improved in forest. Regardless, seedling survival declined significantly in the first-year dry-season for all species with huge declines for the forest species (50% vs 6% for Khaya and 16% vs 2% for Terminalia) by year 2. After 3 y, only savanna species survived in savanna woodland. However, best performance for savanna Khaya was in forest, but in savanna woodland for savanna Terminalia which also had the highest biomass fraction (0.8 ± 0.1 g g-1 vs 0.6 ± 0.1 g g-1 and 0.4 ± 0.1 g g-1) and starch concentration (27% ± 10% vs 15% ± 7% and 10% ± 4%) in roots relative to savanna and forest Khaya respectively. Our results demonstrate that tree cover variation has species-specific effects on tree seedling recruitment which is related to root storage functions.

AB - Differential tree seedling recruitment across forest-savanna ecotones is poorly understood, but hypothesized to be influenced by vegetation cover and associated factors. In a 3-y-long field transplant experiment in the forest-savanna ecotone of Ghana, we assessed performance and root allocation of 864 seedlings for two forest (Khaya ivorensis and Terminalia superba) and two savanna (Khaya senegalensis and Terminalia macroptera) species in savanna woodland, closed-woodland and forest. Herbaceous vegetation biomass was significantly higher in savanna woodland (1.0 ± 0.4 kg m-2 vs 0.2 ± 0.1 kg m-2 in forest) and hence expected fire intensities, while some soil properties were improved in forest. Regardless, seedling survival declined significantly in the first-year dry-season for all species with huge declines for the forest species (50% vs 6% for Khaya and 16% vs 2% for Terminalia) by year 2. After 3 y, only savanna species survived in savanna woodland. However, best performance for savanna Khaya was in forest, but in savanna woodland for savanna Terminalia which also had the highest biomass fraction (0.8 ± 0.1 g g-1 vs 0.6 ± 0.1 g g-1 and 0.4 ± 0.1 g g-1) and starch concentration (27% ± 10% vs 15% ± 7% and 10% ± 4%) in roots relative to savanna and forest Khaya respectively. Our results demonstrate that tree cover variation has species-specific effects on tree seedling recruitment which is related to root storage functions.

KW - Biomass allocation

KW - canopy cover

KW - drought survival

KW - fuel load

KW - root starch

KW - seedling traits

KW - soil properties

KW - tropical trees

U2 - 10.1017/S0266467418000469

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M3 - Article

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T2 - Journal of Tropical Ecology

JF - Journal of Tropical Ecology

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