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Growth and functional leaf traits of coppice regrowth of Bertholletia excelsa during an El Niño event in the central Amazon

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posted on 2023-01-24, 07:22 authored by Saine Leonam Kador FORTES, José Francisco de Carvalho GONÇALVES, Karen Cristina Pires da COSTA, Jussara de Souza LOPES, Marciel José FERREIRA, Roberval Monteiro Bezerra de LIMA, Adamir da Rocha NINA JUNIOR

ABSTRACT The most severe drought of this century in the Amazon rainforest, which was caused by El Niño, occurred from 2015 to 2016. With a focus on the ecophysiology of the regrowth of the Brazil nut tree, Bertholletia excelsa, it was investigated how the progression of the drought of 2015-2016 affected the physiological traits of the coppice regrowth of B. excelsa. The experiment was carried out in a ten-year-old plantation of Brazil nut trees, which had been subjected to thinning and coppice regrowth two years earlier. In the sprouts grown on the stumps of cut trees, the following treatments were applied: (T1) thinning to one sprout per stump; (T2) thinning to two sprouts per stump, and (T3) maintenance of three sprouts per stump. Thinning treatments did not alter the growth and ecophysiological traits of the Brazil nut tree sprouts, though the phosphorus content of the leaves was higher in T1. However, the progression of the drought in 2015-2016 negatively affected the growth (height) and gas exchange of sprouts of all treatments. In addition, an increase of around 37% was observed in the intrinsic water-use efficiency. Concerning photochemical performance, no alterations were observed. Therefore, drought stress promoted a negative effect on sprout growth and affected traits related to the photosynthesis of the B. excelsa sprouts independently of the number of sprouts per stump.

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