Tree Responses to Suboptimal Growth Conditions

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 6467

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CNR—Institute of Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Interests: soluble sugars; osmolites; water stress; acclimation processes; cell differentiation

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Guest Editor
Department of Science and Technology in Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry, University of Florence, Via S. Bonaventura 13, I-50145 Florence, Italy
Interests: plant ecophysiology; plant stress responses; water relations; plant sensors
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Dear Colleagues, 

The concept of optimal conditions for growth is fundamentally linked to species/tree/organ resource-dependent responses, and under a non-limiting environment, the genetic traits have a major role in the production, conservation, and colonization strategy of the species. On the other side, in a limiting environment, the resource limitations determine competition between species and trees to access to environmental resources (mainly light, temperature, water, and nutrients), as well as between organs and tissues in which complex sink–source relationships drive the flux of water, non-structural carbon, N-compounds, and other useful metabolites for growth and development. In such conditions, the increasing pressure of environmental changes determines plant acclimation in the short term or adaptation in the long term. Thus, under suboptimal growth conditions, trees acclimate to environmental constraints through anatomical, morphological, biochemical, and physiological changes to preserve plant functionality and growth. 

We believe that “suboptimal conditions” need to be better determined through the definition of environmental thresholds able to induce plant/organ/tissue response. Thus, studies of ecophysiology, dendroecology, ecology, plant physiology, and agronomy can offer new insight into the definition of these thresholds considering long-term observations, field trials, greenhouse, or controlled chambers, as well as manipulative experiments on woody plants. The scientific community must be aware of the concept of resource use efficiency and evaluate the effect of single or contrasting stresses such as water deficit and flooding (comprising irrigation deficit practices), nutrient deficit and pollutions (xenobiotics, salts, heavy metal), and heat and cold temperatures with the aim to disentangle the complex interactions between tree physiology and environment.  

This Special Issue is focused on the effects from mild to moderate stress in tree physiology, metabolism, and anatomy to address acclimation and adaptation. Therefore, plant studies are most welcome in the form of original research papers, perspectives, hypotheses, opinions, reviews, modeling approaches, and methods.

Dr. Maria Laura Traversi
Dr. Claudia Cocozza
Dr. Alessio Giovannelli
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • environmental constraints
  • abiotic stress
  • tree susceptibility
  • stress thresholds
  • adaptive traits
  • plant acclimation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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19 pages, 3131 KiB  
Article
Biomass Allocation and Leaf Morphology of Saplings Grown under Various Conditions of Light Availability and Competition Types
by Ieva Bebre, Isa Marques and Peter Annighöfer
Plants 2022, 11(3), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11030305 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3198
Abstract
Plant growth is almost always limited by light availability and competition. However, plants are generally plastic and can change their morphology and biomass allocation to optimize growth under suboptimal conditions. We set up a controlled pot experiment with three light availability levels (10%, [...] Read more.
Plant growth is almost always limited by light availability and competition. However, plants are generally plastic and can change their morphology and biomass allocation to optimize growth under suboptimal conditions. We set up a controlled pot experiment with three light availability levels (10%, 20%, and 50%) to study the effect of light and competition on the biomass allocation and leaf morphology in monospecific and mixed pots of recently planted European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) saplings using a quantile regression model. Specific leaf area (SLA) showed the strongest reaction and increased with decreasing light availability. Woody aboveground mass fraction (AMF) increased with decreasing light availability, but the effect of light on biomass allocation was less pronounced than on SLA. The SLA, woody AMF, and root mass fraction (RMF) of the two conifer species and European beech varied greatly, with European beech having a higher SLA and RMF than the two conifer species. The associated effect of plant size on biomass allocation was small, and the strength of the association was not meaningful on a practical level. The competitor’s effect on biomass allocation was minor overall and only present for some species, suggesting that species’ functional dissimilarity does not greatly affect allocational patterns in early tree development stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Suboptimal Growth Conditions)
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5 pages, 386 KiB  
Commentary
Tree Growth Conditions Are Demanded When Optimal, Are Unwanted When Limited, but When Are They Suboptimal?
by Claudia Cocozza, Maria Laura Traversi and Alessio Giovannelli
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1943; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091943 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2317
Abstract
The recent climate projections predict that the intensity and frequency of extreme events will increase as a result of overall increasing mean temperature and reduced precipitations in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. How these changes will influence the harshness of the [...] Read more.
The recent climate projections predict that the intensity and frequency of extreme events will increase as a result of overall increasing mean temperature and reduced precipitations in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. How these changes will influence the harshness of the environment and the performances of trees growing under natural conditions remains an open question. In this commentary article, we would like to look at the concept of suboptimal growth conditions, widening its application from the traditional in vitro manipulation to trees growing in open air, addressing the main limitations and strengths of the upscaling results from cell to tree. We believe that the traditional single dose–effect approach is not suitable to explain the complex interactions between genotype and environment, occurring in open field or forest stands, where the intensity and frequency of the events are uncontrolled and unpredictable. As forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services, new parameters should be considered in the definition of the response thresholds in addition to growth. Thus, within this Special Issue, we stimulate the discussion over the development of new approaches and technologies that are able to define suitable threshold responses of trees under suboptimal natural conditions, with the aim to furnish new insights on the acclimation and adaptation processes in woody species under global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Suboptimal Growth Conditions)
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