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Acacia Species Found to Be Potential Nurse Plants in South China

Recently, Ph. D. student YANG Long, directed by his supervisor Prof. REN Hai in South China Botanical Garden (SCBG) found that two exotic Acacia species, A. auriculiformis and A. mangium, which belong to Mimosaceae and have been introduced broadly in South China, could facilitate understory species as nurse plants, due to their large canopies and ability to fix nitrogen. This is the first time that nurse plant syndrome exists in South China on Forest Ecology and Management.

Yang investigated microclimate, microsoil and ecophysiology characteristics of understory species under the two pure forests and found that Acacia species facilitated the understory species, mainly due to greater temperature buffering of air and soil in summer, radiation reduction, and nutrient amelioration. The results demonstrated that the adaptation of the understory species to abiotic environmental factors is not restricted to a single mechanism but apparently involves a group of interrelated, adaptive suites.


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