iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Adaptability and interspecific variability in growth and leaf traits of eucalypt

Chrissy Garel Makouanzi Ekomono (1-2-3)   , Castela Bath Shéba Vitel Loubassou (3), Mavie Parfait Mbama (4), Grace Jopaul Loubota Panzou (5), Philippe Vigneron (6)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 6, Pages 560-568 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3660-014
Published: Dec 09, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

Effective adaptability of plants to new environments can be analysed in terms of survival rate. Analysing the traits that favour adaptation to environmental changes provides a more in-depth understanding of the mechanisms involved. Local adaptation occurs because different environmental factors exert selective pressure across habitats. Understanding the leaf mechanisms underlying plant survival and growth is crucial to determine why local adaptation involves trade-offs. A comparative provenance test on 29 eucalyptus species was conducted to improve our understanding of species adaptation strategies on coastal plains of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo. We studied the different functional traits to determine how plants function and to highlight the different species’ adaptive strategies. For each species, survival, growth traits and leaf traits were measured, and the climatic factors of the origin area for each species was taken into account. Cluster analysis was performed on groups of species with a similar growth strategy. The results revealed general trends that explain the physiological mechanisms involved in the species’ local adaptation. Indeed, species have survived to current environmental changes by adjusting their specific leaf area plasticity. The 32 provenances of eucalyptus were subdivided into four groups by cluster analysis. The first cluster included two species (E. pilularis and E. peltata) that are totally unsuited to the local conditions in Pointe-Noire, with the slowest growth rate and smallest specific leaf area. The second cluster contained species that showed a wide variety of growing strategies, allowing them to adapt to local conditions. The third cluster included a species that is specialised in obtaining large quantities of resources, while investing very little in growth. The fourth cluster included species that acquired and used resources at a slow rate. Leaf anatomy was quite responsive to climatic conditions. We evaluated the different strategies and found that eucalyptus species had very diverse functional traits, which may explain their broad ecological range.


Adaptability, Eucalyptus, Foliar Traits, Growth Strategies, Clustering Analysis

Authors’ address

Chrissy Garel Makouanzi Ekomono 0000-0003-0920-5216
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie et de Foresterie (ENSAF), Marien Ngouabi University, Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Chrissy Garel Makouanzi Ekomono 0000-0003-0920-5216
Centre de Recherche sur la Durabilité et la Productivité des Plantations Industrielles - CRDPI, Pointe-Noire (Republic of the Congo)
Chrissy Garel Makouanzi Ekomono 0000-0003-0920-5216
Castela Bath Shéba Vitel Loubassou
Institut National de Recherche Forestière - IRF, Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Mavie Parfait Mbama
Programme National d’Afforestation et de Reboisement - PRONAR, Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Grace Jopaul Loubota Panzou 0000-0002-6466-1508
Laboratoire de Biodiversité, Gestion des Ecosystèmes et de l’Environnement - LBGE, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Marien Ngouabi, BP 69 Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Philippe Vigneron
Centre de Coopération International de Recherche en Agronomie pour le Développement - CIRAD, UMR AGAP, Amélioration Génétique et Adaptation des Plantes Tropicales et Méditerranéennes, Montpellier (France)

Corresponding author

Chrissy Garel Makouanzi Ekomono


Makouanzi Ekomono CG, Loubassou CBSV, Mbama MP, Loubota Panzou GJ, Vigneron P (2021). Adaptability and interspecific variability in growth and leaf traits of eucalypt. iForest 14: 560-568. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3660-014

Academic Editor

Rossella Guerrieri

Paper history

Received: Sep 26, 2020
Accepted: Oct 10, 2021

First online: Dec 09, 2021
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2021
Publication Time: 2.00 months

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