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   Location:Home > Research > Research Progress
Impact of clonal fragmentation on clonal fern Pyrrosia nuda in rubber plantation
Author: Yu Xiaocheng
Update time: 2024-07-08
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Epiphytes are particularly sensitive to climate change and human disturbances. Pyrrosia nuda is a dominant epiphyte in rubber forest canopies, characterized by its typical rhizome clonal growth habit. However, our understanding of how human activities and natural disturbances affect epiphytes is limited. Therefore, studying the impact of clonal fragmentation on epiphytes in rubber plantations has practical significance for exploring the habitat adaptability of epiphytes and protecting the biodiversity of tropical plantations. 

In a study published in Frontiers in Plant Science, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) investigated the impact of clonal fragmentation (i.e. the extents of physiological integration) and its dependence on the development ages of a clonal epiphyte in an artificial forest. Specifically, they studied the effects of clonal fragmentation caused by human or natural disturbances on the survival status, biomass, maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), and leaf traits of the epiphytic fern Pyrrosia nuda in tropical rubber plantations.  

They found that clonal fragmentation exerted negative age-dependent effects on survival and performance of the epiphytic fern P. nuda in articficial rubber plantations, especially at the juvenile fiddlehead leaf stage. When clonal ramets are fragmented by natural or anthropogenic disturbance, the plant’s resource sharing will be limited to fragments of small numbers of interconnected ramets, leading to resource scarcity and declined performance. Such negative effects of clonal fragmentation were much more severe on juvenile individuals than aged ones, which may have resulted from the higher stress-resilience and resource-storage of adults.  

"Our study indicates that clonal integration plays a crucial role in the growth, reproduction, and performance of clonal plants in tropical artificial forests under adverse stress conditions,” said LU Huazheng of XTBG. 



LU Huazheng  Ph.D 

Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
E-mail: luhuazheng@xtbg.ac.cn
Published: 29 April  2024   


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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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