Which processes drive fine root elongation in a natural mountain forest ecosystem?

Mao Zhun, Bonis Marie-Laure, Rey Hervé, Saint André Laurent, Stokes Alexia, Jourdan Christophe. 2013. Which processes drive fine root elongation in a natural mountain forest ecosystem?. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 6 (2) : pp. 231-243.

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Quartile : Q3, Sujet : PLANT SCIENCES

Abstract : Background: Quantifying the dynamics of root growth is vital when characterising the role of vegetation in carbon cycling. Aims: We examined the temporal dynamics of root growth and responses to spatial (altitude, forest patchiness and soil depth) and biological factors (root diameter and root topology) in mid-montane and upper montane coniferous forest ecosystems. Methods: Using rhizotrons, two indicators were investigated: occurrence, i.e. the proportion of roots which had elongated since the previous measurement of root elongation (%), and daily root elongation speed (mm d?1) once the elongation occurred. Results: Spatial factors had a limited effect on root growth. Roots in the same diameter class possessed different elongation speeds and this was related to topological ranking, reflecting a disparity in physiological activity. Temporally, the occurrence of root elongation reached a peak in May-October (up to 90%) and sharply dropped after October 2010. The maximum root elongation speed (mean: 3.0 mm d?1) was measured in July-August. Root growth was the most inactive in February 2011 but some roots still exhibited positive elongation speeds (mean: 0.5 mm d?1). Occurrence and speed of elongation reacted differently with regard to environmental and biological factors. Conclusions: Temporal and biological factors contributed more towards explaining the variability of root growth than spatial factors. In future studies, both occurrence and speed of elongation should be used to characterise root growth. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : forêt tropicale, Écosystème forestier, Pinales, Racine, Dimension, Enracinement, Croissance, Saison, Altitude, Espacement, Écologie forestière

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : France, Alpes

Classification Agris : F62 - Plant physiology - Growth and development
K01 - Forestry - General aspects
F40 - Plant ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Mao Zhun, INRA (FRA)
  • Bonis Marie-Laure, INRA (FRA)
  • Saint André Laurent, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Eco&Sols (FRA)
  • Stokes Alexia, INRA (FRA)
  • Jourdan Christophe, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Eco&Sols (FRA)

Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

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