The role of ecophysiology in reforestation

A. Vilagrosa, J. Cortina, E. Rubio, R. Trubat, E. Chirino, E. Gil-Pelegrin, V. R. Vallejo


Afforestation and reforestation have been the more extended practices of forest restoration in most of Mediterranean countries. The establishment of the different species depends on both abiotic and biotic factors, the later including morphofunctional characteristics of each species. Target species and stock quality of seedlings are two of the main factors influencing reforestation success. Until recently, results of reforestations were analyzed in terms of survival and growth of the introduced species and the relationship of these variables with the morphological characteristics of seedlings. The new developments of ecophysiological instrumentation, with improved portability, have allowed to incorporate ecophysiological information in the assessment of the quality and the performance of seedlings. In this way, new perspectives on functional and morphological evaluation of seedlings have been opened. Ecophysiological techniques can be a very useful tool helping to explain the processes involved in the responses of the species.Within the ecophysiological aspects, the analysis of the strategies developed by species in relation to biotic and abiotic factors has been the more developed field of research. Starting from this point and from the understanding of the different factors that interact in a plant, a deeper knowledge on seedling ecophysiology will help to produce high performance seedlings and we will be able to adapt nursery techniques in order to manipulate morphofunctional characteristic of seedlings according to the interests and objectives of forest restoration.


Reforestation; ecophysiology; seedling stock quality; functional strategies

DOI: 10.5424/srf/2005143-00941