The effects of gradual waterlogging on trees have been little studied. The températe evergreens Nothofagus nítida and N. dombeyi are differentially distributed on soil moisture gradients, only the former being common on poorly-drained sites. We compared the relative height growth rate (RGR H) and foliage loss of seedlings subjected experimentally to normal drainage (soil at field capacity), sudden waterlogging and gradual waterlogging for two months to determine which waterlogging regime more accurately predicts interspecific differences in tolerance, as evident from natural distributions. RGR H was similar between species but differed between treatments (normal watering > gradual waterlogging = sudden waterlogging). Sudden waterlogging caused massive foliage loss in the two species, but gradual waterlogging caused much greater foliage loss in N. dombeyi than in N. nítida, indicating some degree of acclimation by the latter species. Linear regressions indicated that RGR H was negatively affected by foliage loss in both species, without differences between them. Since no difference in RGR H was found between species in the waterlogging treatments, but yet in foliage loss, other mechanisms may be in volved in the short term growth reduction of N. nítida. Effects of waterlogging on long-term performance in the field were evaluated by reciprocal transplants between a poorly-drained site naturally occupied by N. nítida, and a well drained site naturally occupied by N. dombeyi. After two growing seasons, N. dombeyi had significantly lower specific leaf área (SLA) and RGR H, at the poorly drained site than at its original site. At the poorly drained site N. nítida achieved 100 % survival, compared with 73.5 % in N. dombeyi. Reduced growth and survival of N. dombeyi associated with the negative effects on carbón gain of extensive foliage loss and reduced SLA may thus exelude it from the wetter sites. We conclude that tolerance may be better predicted from responses to gradual, rather than sudden waterlogging.
Sociedad de Biología de Chile
Revista chilena de historia natural v.81 n.2 2008
Responses of two températe evergreen Nothofagus species to sudden and gradual waterlogging: relationships with distribution patterns