INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT LIGHT INTENSITIES ON THE GERMINATION AND EARLY GROWTH OF Treculia africana

INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT LIGHT INTENSITIES ON THE GERMINATION AND EARLY GROWTH OF Treculia Africana  

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out to investigate the effect of different light intensities on the germination and early growth of Treculia Africana under different light intensities (100%, 60%, and 40% light intensities) as well as under forest canopy (control I), open nursery condition (control II). The experiment was carried out at the tree nursery site of the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure, and lasted for eighteen weeks. Treculia Africana fruits were collected from the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Jericho hills, Ibadan. Both germination and early growth characteristics (total height, collar diameter, number of leaves, and biomass production) of the seedlings were monitored. A higher value of plant height was recorded under 40% and 60% light intensities while seedlings grown under higher light intensities (open nursery condition and 100% light intensity) showed higher values in both collar diameter and the number of leaves. The results also indicated that T. Africana seedlings Planted under a high light environment (open nursery condition and 100% light intensity) had more biomass accumulated than those recorded under a low light environment (40% and 60% light intensities). Faster growth in stem height may be achieved by subjecting T. Africana seedlings to a low light environment but will result in the spindle and fragile stem, due to their low collar diameter. Collar diameter, number of leaves, and biomass accumulation will be higher for T. Africana seedlings under higher light intensities (open nursery condition and 100% light intensity), with the shorter but more stable and less fragile stem. As a result of this, it has come to light that better T. Africana would be produced under a high light environment. Domestication and cultivation of T. Africana will be enhanced using information from this study.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ABSTRACT ii CERTIFICATION iii                                       iv DEDICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT v TABLE OF CONTENTS vi LIST OF TABLES viii LIST OF FIGURES ix LIST OF PLATES x CHAPTER ONE 1 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1    1.1 General 1    1.2  Statement of Problem 5    1.3  Objectives 6    1.4 Justification 6    1.5 Scope of Study 7 CHAPTER TWO 8 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW 8    2.1 Description of Treculia Africana 8    2.2 Ecology and distribution 8       2.2.1 Habitat and Distribution 8    2.3 Propagation and management 9       2.3.1 Propagation by Seeds 10       2.3.2 Stem Cuttings 11       2.3.3 Coppicing 11    2.4 Functional uses 12       2.4.1 Products 12       2.4.2 Services 14    2.5 Conservation of forest genetic resources 14    2.6 Opportunities for commercial development of edible forest species 15    2.7 seed germination and tree growth 16       2.7.1 Requirements For Seed Germination 18    2.8 Factors Affecting Survival and Early Growth of Seedlings 21    2.9 Effects Light Intensities on Seed Germination and Early Growth of Seedlings 21 CHAPTER THREE 23 3.0 METHODOLOGY 23    3.1 Experimental site 23    3.2 Fruit collection 23    3.3 Seed extraction/Processing 24    3.4 Experimental Procedure 25    3.5 Biomass Estimation 27    3.6 Experimental Design 29    3.7 Statistical Analysis 30 CHAPTER FOUR 31 4.0 RESULT AND DISCUSSION 31    4.1 Results 31       4.1.1 Germination Rate 31       4.1.2 Seedlings growth characteristics 33          4.1.2.1 Mean Height 33          4.1.2.2 Mean Colar Diameter 35          4.1.2.3 Mean Number of leaves 37       4.1.5 Biomass Estimation 39          4.1.5.1 Leaf Biomass 39          4.1.5.2 Stem Biomass 42          4.1.5.3 Root Dry Weight 43    4.2 Discussion 45 CHAPTER FIVE 48 5.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 48    5.1 Conclusion 48    5.2 Recommendation 48 REFERENCES 50 APPENDICES 59 CHAPTER ONE 1.0  INTRODUCTION 1.1 GENERAL Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are wild plant and animal products harvested from forests, such as wild fruits, vegetables, nuts, edible roots, honey, palm leaves, medicinal plants, poisons and bush meat. They are all non-timber resources that are extractable from forests, which have economic, cultural and social values and are utilisable in households (FAO, 1990). NTFPs add to peoples’  livelihood  security,  especially  the  rural  dwellers  who  depend  on  them. Non-timber forest products (NTFP) are also considered as any commodity obtained from the forest that does not  necessitate harvesting  trees.  It  includes game  animals, fur-bearers, nuts and seeds, berries, mushrooms, oils, foliage, medicinal  plants, peat, fuelwood, forage,  etc  (Emery et  al, 2001). Millions of people – especially those living in rural areas in developing countries – collect these products daily, and many regard selling them as a means of earning a living (Tinde van Andel, 2006). Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) were long considered as minor forest resources. Economic studies  of  forest  management  generally  ignored the  subsistence  these  resources  provide  local populations.  Only recently has NTFPs attracted  the  attention  of  researchers,  particularly  those concerned  with  tropical  forests  (Lescuyer,  1996). These  studies  have confirmed  that the forest ecosystem generates other resources which also have economic values apart from the well know timber that are popularly harvested (Karsenty and Maîtres, 1995). For centuries, humans around the world have relied on products derived from forest species fortheir survival and well-being. NTFPs harvesting and utilisation remains widespread throughout the  world.  People  from  diverse  income  levels,  age  groups,  and  cultural  backgrounds  harvest NTFPs for household subsistence, maintaining cultural and family traditions, obtaining spiritual fulfilment,  maintaining  physical  and  emotional  well-being,  scientific  learning,  and  earning income.  NTFPs  serve  as  raw  materials  for  industries  ranging  from  large-scale  floral  greens suppliers  and  pharmaceutical  companies  to  micro-enterprises  centered  around  basket-making, woodcarving,  medicinal  plant  harvesting  and  processing,  and  a  variety  of  other  activities. Estimating  the  contribution  of  NTFPs  to  national  or  regional  economies  is  difficult  due  to  the lack  of  broad-based  systems  for  tracking  the  combined  value  of  the  hundreds  of  products  that make up the various NTFP industries. In tropical forests, NTFPs can be an important source of income that can supplement farming or other  activities.  A  value  analysis  of  Amazonian  rainforest  in  Peru  found  that  exploitation  of NTFPs could actually yield higher net revenues per hectare than timber harvest of the same area,while  still  conserving  vital  ecological  services. Their  economic,  cultural,  and  ecological  value when  considered  in  aggregate  makes  managing  for  NTFPs  an  important  component  of sustainable forest management and the conservation of biological and cultural diversity (Encarta, 2011). Treculiaafricana (African breadfruit, African boxwood or Wild jackfruit) belongs to the mono specific genus TreculiaDecne. Ex Trec which is one of the fifteen genera of plants belonging to the  tribeArtocarpeae  in  the  Mulberry  family  (Moraceae) (Keay,  1989).  This  species  is  largely                                             13 cultivated  within  the  rainforest  belt  of  West,  Central  and  East  Africa  (Keay,  1989).  It  is an evergreen  forest  fruit  tree species (Onyekwelu  and  Stimm,  2008). The  plant  produces  large, usually  round and compound  fruits  covered  with  rough  pointed  outgrowths  (Keay,  1989; Onyekwelu and Stimm, 2008).  Treculiaafricanahas  very  large  simple  and  alternate  leaves.  The  leaves,  which  are  about  30 (max. 50) x 14 (max 20) cm in dimension, are dark green in colour. The leaves are smooth above with  tough,  paler  below  with  some  hiars  on  the  10-18  pairs  of  clear  veins  with  a  pointed  tip (Rohwer, 1993; Orwa et al 2009). Treculiaafricana has compound, rounded, very large fruits, on the trunk or main branches, containing many orange seeds, about 1 cm, buried in spongy pulp of the fruit. The outer surface is covered with rough pointed outgrowths. The fruit attains 40 cm in diameter and weighs 8-14 kg (Orwa et al 2009). Based  on  detailed  field  observations,  3  varieties  have  been  recognized,  which  are: T.  africanavar. africana, T. africana var. inversa and T. africana var. Mollis (Chris Chinaka, 1998). Their taxonomic  differences  are  based  mainly  on  the  size  of  the  fruit  head  (infructence)  and  the hairiness  of  branchlets  and  leaves.  There  is  a  striking  variation  in  the  number  of  fruit  heads produced  by  trees  belonging  to  T.  african  var.  africana  (with  large  fruit  heads)  and  T.  African var.inversa  (with  small  fruit  heads).  The  former  is  clearly  superior  in  the  weight  of  seeds produced  while  the  latter  produces  more  fruit  and  also  produces  twice  as  many  branches (Nwokolo, 1987; Omobuwajo et al., 1999; Orwa et al 2009). Treculiaafricanaand  other  forest  food  plants  like Pentachlethramacrophylla (oil  bean  seed), Dacryodesedulis are of high nutritional value which needs to be introduced or added to our food materials consumed (Edet et al., 1985; Nwokolo, 1987). The importance attached to them is due to the fact  that many of  them are usually  available at  strategic period of  the  year  when annual crops that are difficult to store are unavailable or scarce (Okafor, 1978). Despite  the  socio-economic  importance  of Treculiaafricana to  a  very  large  population  of  the people of southern Nigeria, it is still a protected crop and a semi domesticated species. Increase in human population and agricultural practices have put pressure on the forest thereby depleting some  genetic  resources, Treculiaafricana being  a  good  example.  To prevent  total  loss  or extinction of important forest food tree species, especially those that are endangered, they must be cultivated more intensely (Baiyeri, 2003; Ugwunze, 2003). While seed germination and plant growth are regulated internally, they are greatly influenced by external  conditions  such  as  the  intensity  and  duration  of  light  and  temperature.  Aside  from  its effect  through  photosynthesis,  light  influences  the  growth  of  individual  organs  or  of the  entire plant in less direct ways. The most striking effect can be seen between a plant grown in normal light and the same kind of plant grown in partial darkness or total darkness. The plant grown in the partial dark or total dark will have a tall and spindling stem. The leaves fail to expand, and both  leaves and stem, lacking  chlorophyll,  are pale  yellow. Such a plant is  said  to  be etiolated (Dennis Holley, 2009) Both  the  intensity  and  duration  (length)  of  light  may  have  different  and  characteristic  effects upon plant growth and development. It has been found that the length of the daylight period may have a striking effect upon vegetative growth and reproductive activities of plants. The reaction of plants in relation to the length of the day is called photoperiodism(Dennis Holley, 2009) This  study  is  carried  out  to investigate how Treculiaafricanaseeds  and  seedlings respond  to various  light  intensities  and to  also  monitor  the  early  growth  characteristics  and  habits  of  the seedlings of the species  under three different  light  intensities using three screen houses, which are compared with the performance of seeds and seedlings of the species sown and planted under open nursery condition as well as under forest canopy.  1.2  STATEMENT OF PROBLEM Despite the economic, nutritional, cultural and social importance of Treculiaafricana, especially to rural dwellers that depend on them, ithas been greatly neglected, especially with respect to their regeneration. The yield of current crop of trees is decreasing due to old age and the fact that it has been harvested for decades. Thus, if the current practice of allowing T. africana to grow in the wild is allowed to continue without deliberate silvicultural interventions, the probability of obtaining its valued products on a sustained basis will be very low. Due to lack of care and old age, a lot of the trees of the species have died or are in the process of doing so, thus the species is classified among the  endangered  tree  species  in  Nigeria  (FORMECU,  1999),  with a  high  possibility  of  going  into extinction  in  the  near  future  except  something  is  done  to  increase  its  population.  Allowing  thespecies to go into extinction will endanger the livelihood of millions of rural dwellers in Nigeria and reduce  the  rich  biological  diversity  of  the  ecosystem.  Artificial  regeneration  and  subsequent improvement  (domestication)  appears  to  be  a  very  viable  option  of  saving  the  species  from extinction  and  ensuring  that  its  products  are  supplied  on  sustained  basis. The  need  to  rapidly domesticate tropical forest food tree species has been stressed and is now one of the three pillars of  the  International  Centre  for  Agroforestry  Research  (ICRAF)  program  (Leakey  and  Simons, 1998).  Seed  germination  and  early  growth  of  forest  seedlings  is affected  by  some  factors  such  as  light intensity, air, temperature, water, soil condition, etc. Except these factors or their combinations are provided at the right time and in good quantity, seed germination and growth of seedlings may be adversely affected. Till date, research work on the effect of light intensity of the germination of T. africana seeds and the early growth of its seedlings is scanty, which is the focus of this study.  1.3  OBJECTIVESThe general objective of this study is to investigate the effect of different light intensities on seed germination and early growth rate of Treculiaafricanaseedlings. The specific objectives are:       a.To investigate the germination potential of Treculiaafricana seeds under different           light intensities.       b.To assess the influence of light intensity on survival and early growth performance           of Treculiaafricanaseedlings. 1.4 JUSTIFICATION Research  on  domestication  of  forest  food  tree  species  is  still  at  a  preliminary  stage.  Specifically, efforts  on  domestication  of T.  africana only  covers  seed  storage  and  germination,  vegetative propagation, germplasm  collection,  priority  setting  exercise,  integration  into  agroforestry, economic and nutritional importance, selection of multiple traits for potential cultivars, (Okafor, 1991; Leakey  and  Simons,  1998; Enibe,  2003; Leakey et  al.,  2003;  Kumar  and  Nair,  2004; Onyekwelu  and  Fayose,  2007;  Onyekwelu  and  Stimm,  2008).  Till  date  no  known  work  on  the effect  of  different  light  intensities  on  seed  germination  and  early  growth  rate  of T.  africanaseedlings  has been  carried  out,  though  it  has  been  established  that  light  intensity  affects  seed dormancy  breakage,  seed  germination,  early  growth  performance,  etc  of  seedlings.  This underscores the need for a study that will investigate the effect of various light intensities on the germination and early growth rate of T. africanaseedlings, which is the focus of this study. It is believed that this will aid the selection of the most appropriate light intensity that will facilitate the highest and regular seed germination as well as the fastest growth rate. In this study, nursery experiment with the seeds of T. africana will then be conducted to investigate the germination and  early  growth  characteristics  of  the  seedlings  of  the  species  under  three  different  light intensities using three screen houses.  1.5 SCOPE OF STUDYThe research work was carried out at the nursery site of the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology,  Federal  University  of  Technology  Akure,  Nigeria. Treculiaafricana fruit was obtained from Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria from which the seeds were extracted. Four hundred (400) seeds of Treculiaafricanaweres sown in each of the three screen houses which allows  40%,  60%  and  100%  light  intensities. Also, 400  seeds  were sown in  open  nursery condition (i.e. outside the screen house) as well as under forest canopy, which served as controls 1  &  2, respectively. Seed  germination as  well  as  early  growth characteristics of  the  seedlings, such  as  survival,  collar  diameter,  height,  root  length,  number  of  leaves  and  biomass. weremonitored for Eighteen weeks.

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