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      Root-shoot allometry of tropical forest trees determined in a large-scale aeroponic system.

      Annals of Botany
      Africa, Biomass, Carbon, metabolism, Ceiba, growth & development, Meliaceae, Plant Roots, Plant Shoots, Plant Stems, Seedling, Species Specificity, Trees, Tropical Climate, Wood

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          This study is a first step in a multi-stage project aimed at determining allometric relationships among the tropical tree organs, and carbon fluxes between the various tree parts and their environment. Information on canopy-root interrelationships is needed to improve understanding of above- and below-ground processes and for modelling of the regional and global carbon cycle. Allometric relationships between the sizes of different plant parts will be determined. Two tropical forest species were used in this study: Ceiba pentandra (kapok), a fast-growing tree native to South and Central America and to Western Africa, and Khaya anthotheca (African mahogany), a slower-growing tree native to Central and Eastern Africa. Growth and allometric parameters of 12-month-old saplings grown in a large-scale aeroponic system and in 50-L soil containers were compared. The main advantage of growing plants in aeroponics is that their root systems are fully accessible throughout the plant life, and can be fully recovered for harvesting. The expected differences in shoot and root size between the fast-growing C. pentandra and the slower-growing K. anthotheca were evident in both growth systems. Roots were recovered from the aeroponically grown saplings only, and their distribution among various diameter classes followed the patterns expected from the literature. Stem, branch and leaf allometric parameters were similar for saplings of each species grown in the two systems. The aeroponic tree growth system can be utilized for determining the basic allometric relationships between root and shoot components of these trees, and hence can be used to study carbon allocation and fluxes of whole above- and below-ground tree parts.

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          Africa,Biomass,Carbon,metabolism,Ceiba,growth & development,Meliaceae,Plant Roots,Plant Shoots,Plant Stems,Seedling,Species Specificity,Trees,Tropical Climate,Wood


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