Morphology and Biomass Traits of Gmelina arborea as Influenced by Simulated Insect Leaf Damage

Titus Fondo Ambebe, Lawrence Monah Ndam

Abstract


Predicting the growth responses of plants to insect defoliation is complicated by the recovery potential of individual tree species, varieties, provenances, but also the extent of damage, and site conditions. This study investigated the effect of simulated insect leaf damage on growth of Gmelina arborea (gmelina) seedlings raised from seeds that were collected from mother trees in Bamessing village of the Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon. The seedlings were subjected to four treatments (control, 2, 4, 6 holes per leaf). Morphology and biomass were determined three months after the initiation of treatments. Height, stem diameter, shoot mass, and root/shoot ratio were unaffected by the insect damage treatments. In contrast, root and total biomass responded to treatments in a similar manner, declining from the control to the 4 holes and 6 holes regimes which resulted in comparable values for each trait. Furthermore, the differences in root and total mass between the control and 2 holes treatment were not statistically significant. The results suggest that an insect damage of low intensity may not compromise the growth of gmelina seedlings. Where an insect outbreak of density high enough to impose severe damage to leaf tissue is anticipated, measures to control insect populations may be warranted as a safeguard against a significant growth decline

Keywords


Gmelina arborea, seedling, growth, leaf damage, insect outbreak

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