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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 821891, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/821891
Research Article

Effects of Drought Frequency on Growth Performance and Transpiration of Young Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.)

1International Graduate School, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
2Chair of Soil Protection and Recultivation, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
3Centre for Energy Technology Brandenburg e.V. (CEBra), Friedlieb-Runge-Straße 3, 03046 Cottbus, Germany

Received 19 November 2013; Revised 28 January 2014; Accepted 28 January 2014; Published 17 March 2014

Academic Editor: Kihachiro Kikuzawa

Copyright © 2014 Dario Mantovani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a drought-tolerant fast growing tree, which could be an alternative to the more common tree species used in short-rotation coppice on marginal land. The plasticity of black locust in the form of ecophysiological and morphological adaptations to drought is an important precondition for its successful growth in such areas. However, adaptation to drought stress is detrimental to primary production. Furthermore, the soil water availability condition of the initial stage of development may have an impact on the tree resilience. We aimed to investigate the effect of drought stress applied during the resprouting on the drought tolerance of the plant, by examining the black locust growth patterns. We exposed young trees in lysimeters to different cycles of drought. The drought memory affected the plant growth performance and its drought tolerance: the plants resprouting under drought conditions were more drought tolerant than the well-watered ones. Black locust tolerates drastic soil water availability variations without altering its water use efficiency (2.57 g L−1), evaluated under drought stress. Due to its constant water use efficiency and the high phenotypic plasticity, black locust could become an important species to be cultivated on marginal land.