Growth and plant water status of black locust

Spatial and temporal variation of drought impact on black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) water status and growth

Stimulated by the rising demand for bioenergy, forestry practices for energy production are of increasing importance worldwide. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a suitable tree species for biomass production in short-rotation plantations in East Germany, especially on marginal land where insufficient water and nutrients are a limiting factor for tree growth. Our study aims to clarify the spatial and temporal variability of the black locust growth through the analysis of the plant water status, and to evaluate the effect of adverse edaphic conditions on growth performances, amplified by periods of summer drought. The study was carried out at two sites presenting comparable climatic but different edaphic conditions: (i) fertile agricultural soil; and (ii) heterogeneous unstructured soil from a reclaimed post-mining area. During the vegetation period, the growth rate decreased in both sites following the plant water status in terms of pre-dawn leaf water potential. Particularly in the post-mining area, due to the adverse edaphic conditions, below the critical pre-dawn water potential value of -0.5 MPa, the stem growth was drastically reduced during a period of summer drought. However, the trees could cope with the extreme soil and weather conditions in the post-mining site without perishing.

Mantovani, D., Veste. M., Böhm, C., Vignudelli, M., Freese, D. (2015): Drought impact on the spatial and temporal variation of growth performance and plant water status of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) in agroforestry systems in Lower Lusatia (Germany). iForest – Journal of Biogeosciences and Forestry.

Agroforestry Robinia