(1) The proposal is made to investigate the growth, mineral nutrition and ecophysiology of the three most abundant ectomycorrhizal legume tree species (caesalpinioideae) occurring on very nutrient-poor soils in Korup National park, and to compare them with three non-ecto-(endo-)mycorrhizal species (olacaceae) found on neighbouring more nutrient-rich soils. Attention will be principally directed towards the role of phosphorus and water availability and its interaction on the functioning of ecto- versus endo-mycorrhizas. This may highlight the adaptive (advantageous) attributes of the ectomycorrhizal type of symbiosis.
(2) This aim will be achieved by seedling growth experiments in nurserie, transplant experiments to the field (Korup and two outside managed sites), field fertilization studies, seedling demography and associated field environmental and ecophysiological measurements in Cameroun. In Europe, more controlled glasshouse experiments will parallel those in Cameroun but with detailed physiological measurements (carbon fixation, leaf water parameters, mineral uptake) and the role of mycorrhizas.
(3) The results obtained will increase understanding of these tropical tree species' ecology and physiology and thus their management in forests, and will provide a sounder scientific basis for their silviculture with view to reforestation of nutrient-impoverished tropical sites and in agroforestry.
(4) The proposed research builds upon a significant foundation of two large recent research grants into the ecology of the ectomycorrhizal species and it will be contributory to a major forestry research initiative in SW Cameroun.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
AB9 2UD Aberdeen