Responses of four succession tree species in low subtropics to enhanced UV-B radiation in the field

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The tested tree species included pioneer species Acacia mangium, early succession stage species Schima superba, mesophyte intermediate-succession species Machilus chinensis, and shade-tolerant plant or late-succession species Cryptocarya concinna which occur in the lower subtropical forest community. A comparison with the current ambient level of UV-B radiation (UV-B) showed the leaf net photosynthetic rate (PN), transpiration rate (E), and stomatal conductance (gs) of the four species ranged from significantly decreased to no significant change. Additionally, the thickness of palisade and mesophyll in leaves of four tree species were decreased sharply by enhanced UV-B. The thickness of spongy parenchyma in leaves was also decreased except for M. chinensis. UV-B increased the leaf width of A. mangium but its leaf length, leaf thickness, and dry mass per unit area were not affected. Significantly increased stomata width was observed in A. mangium leaf epidermis in response to UV-B. Significantly decreased stomata width and significantly increased stomata density of leaf abaxial epidermis in M. chinensis were also observed. The stomata density of abaxial epidermis of C. concinna was remarkably increased by enhanced UV-B. The height and branch biomass of A. mangium and the height of S. superba were reduced visibly by enhanced UV-B. The four plant species could be classified into three groups of UV-B sensitiveness by hierarchical cluster analysis. A. mangium was sensitive to enhanced UV-B, while C. concinna showed more tolerance.

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