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More shading, water can accelerate woody seed germination in translocated forest topsoil: research

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-01-20 11:23

BEIJING - Chinese researchers have discovered that less light and more water treatment can improve woody seedlings in translocated forest soil at the country's subtropical karst landforms, according to a recent study published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Soil translocation is recognized as a promising method to recover degraded ecosystems and save regionally threatened species, said the paper, while the diversity and density of woody species and the similarity of germinated seedlings between the translocated site and original forest are always low.

Researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences hoped to study the manageable environmental factors for seed germination when forest topsoil is exposed to strong light conditions in karst landforms in Southwest China's Yunnan province. Therefore, they tested the effects of shading and watering treatments on the germination of species in translocated forest topsoil.

They found that the richness of shrub species increased by 0.8 species when an additional 10 liters of water were added in each square meter of soil.

In addition, the richness of trees species was positively linearly correlated with shading treatments.

The densities of shrub and tree species also had a positive linear relationship with shading treatments. Moreover, the germinated communities and the original forests have more ecological similarities with both more shading and water treatments.

Therefore, the shading and water treatments significantly improved the diversity, density and similarity of woody seedlings in translocated forest soil.

The finding can be incorporated into the practice and management of natural forest restoration, said the paper.

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