Multipurpose trees such as Senegalia senegal
are widespread in arid and semi-arid lands that have natural or induced saline soils and poor soil fertility. Such environmental problems impact growth and have the potential to influence plant physiological adaptations. Identifying superior genotypes better adapted to these environmental stresses will be of great importance for tree selection for reclamation of degraded drylands. The main objective of this study was to examine the growth performance, and physiological and morphological adaptations to salinity, and fertility treatments of different Senegalia senegal
families. We used five families (DB16, DB14, K4B19, K17B19, NB1) selected from 60 families of a Senegalia senegal
progeny trial in Dahra, Senegal. Seedlings were grown under greenhouse conditions by watering all plants for three weeks and then stopping all watering for three more weeks. In a randomized complete block design, a two-level factorial combination was used for salinity (zero and 183.1 mM NaCl added) and fertility (zero and 100 kg/ha N-P-K added) treatments. A significant family × salt × fertilizer interaction was found for all biomass parameters (leaf dry matter, stem dry matter, root dry matter, and leaf area). The fertilizer application resulted in a significant increase of total biomass of all families, ranging from 63% to 237% for NB1 and K17B19, respectively. In contrast, salt only decreased total biomass of NB1 and K17B19 increased growth. Despite similar net photosynthetic rates before treatment started, fertilizer and salinity induced different effects between families. Prior to drought stress, fertilizer did not affect photosynthesis of DB16, while salt significantly decreased stomatal conductance of all families. DB16 and N1B1, despite significant differences of stomata size and density, significantly decreased transpiration, and thereby increased their intrinsic water use efficiency. Under drought, relative growth rate was significantly decreased. Given that genotype differences were found, these families and salinity and fertilizer treatments need to be explored in field trials.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited