Morphological Tradeoffs of American Chestnut (Castanea Dentata) and Co-Occurring Hardwoods in Varying Nutrient and Light Regimes
Castanea dentata once dominated the eastern deciduous forest, but was virtually eliminated by the exotic fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica. We compared C. dentata's morphological and leaf chemistry traits to those of formerly co-occurring species. Seedlings of C. dentata, Q. rubra and L. tulipifera were grown in varying light and nitrogen regimes. After four months of growth, we measured specific leaf area, biomass, plant height and leaf nutrient content of each seedling. Castanea dentata attained greater height, biomass and leaves per plant than the other two species in most light treatments (P < .001). Results also revealed several other traits and tradeoffs of the three species. Castanea dentata's ability to accumulate greater biomass and height at the seedling stage of development may explain a great deal about its former dominance. Results also suggest that C. dentata will be able to thrive in a wide variety of intact forests when reintroduction experiments begin.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:american chestnut species traits tree seedlings specific leaf area nitrogen
Date of Publication:01/01/2005