Comparative ecophysiology of two representativeQuercus species appearing in different stages of succession
Ecophysiological comparisons were made of the growth and photosynthetic characteristics between seedlings of deciduousQuercus serrata and evergreenQuercus myrsinaefolia. Q. myrsinaefolia seedlings naturally occurring in secondary coppice forests showed exponential-like growth in height with age, while sympatricQ. serrata seedlings were considerably smaller in height, their growth being limited by shortage of light. The photosynthetic characteristics measured under laboratory conditions showed no bases for the differences in growth between the two species on the forest floor: Light compensation points of the seedlings raised under 5% daylight were almost identical for the two species, being about 6.0 μE·m−2·s−1. Growth analysis of seedlings planted in a coppice forest showed that bothQ. serrata andQ. myrsinaefolia could hardly grow during the summer under the shrub layer, when relative photon flux density (RPFD) was 0.9±0.5%. In the winter, when RPFD under the leafless canopy increased to 29.3±2.7%, the dry matter production of the evergreen seedlings ofQ. myrsinaefolia was much improved. Current-year seedlings of the species showed NAR of 0.102±0.021 g·dm−2·mo−1 during the winter. Temperature dependency of photosynthesis and increment of leaf temperature by direct solar beam also indicated active photosynthesis ofQ. myrsinaefolia on the forest floor during the winter.