Belanganayi B. L., Delvaux, C., Kearsley, E., Lievens, K., Rousseau, M., Mbungu Phaka, C., Djiofack, B. Y., Laurent, F., Nils Bourland, Hubau, W., Tom De Mil, Beeckman, H. [ [2024 ] Growth periodicity in semi-deciduous tropical tree species from the Congo Basin. Plant-Environment Interactions, 5, e10144

In the tropics, more precisely in equatorial dense rainforest, xylogenesis is driven by a little distinct climatological seasonality, and many tropical trees do not show clear growth rings. This makes retrospective analyses and modeling of future tree performance difficult. This research investigates the presence, the distinctness, and the periodicity of growth ring for dominant tree species in two semi-deciduous rainforests, which contrast in terms of precipitation dynamics. Eighteen tree species common to both forests were investigated. We used the cambial marking technique and then verified the presence and periodicity of growth-ring boundaries in the wood produced between pinning and collection by microscopic and macroscopic observation. The study showed that all eighteen species can form visible growth rings in both sites. However, the periodicity of ring formation varied significantly within and between species, and within sites. Trees from the site with clearly defined dry season had a higher likelihood to form periodical growth rings compared to those from the site where rainfall seasonality is less pronounced. The distinctness of the formed rings however did not show a site dependency. Periodical growth-ring formation was more likely in fast-growing
trees. Furthermore, improvements can be made by a detailed study of the cambial activity through microcores taken at high temporal resolution, to get insight on the phenology of the lateral meristem.
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