THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT LIGHT INTENSITIES ON THE GERMINATION AND EARLY GROWTH OF CHRYSOPHYLLUM ALBIDUM SEEDLINGS
The present study investigated the effects different light intensities on the germination of Chrysophyllum albidum seeds as well as the early seedling development of the species. The treatments investigated were 100%, 60%, and 40% light intensities, under forest canopy (control I), open nursery condition (control II). The seedling growth characteristics investigated were height, collar diameter, number of leaves and biomass production. The experiment, which was monitored for about 18 months, was conducted at the departmental nursery of the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology, Federal University of Technology Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. Results indicated a significant effect of light intensities on seed germination and early growth rate of seedlings. Cumulative germination ranged from 19.0% to 58.7% and was highest under forest canopy and lowest under 100% light intensity. Seedlings in high light environment (100% light intensity and open nursery condition) died soon after germination, indicating that full exposure to light has adverse effect on the growth of C. albidum seedlings. Development of the seedlings was observed to be best in low light environment like 40% and 60% light intensities. Except for collar diameter both 40% and 60% had similar effect on all the growth characteristics investigated in this study. Seedlings under 40% light intensity had a significantly higher collar diameter than those under 60% light intensity. Seedlings under forest canopy had very poor growth germination, suggesting the C. albidum seedlings may not tolerate high shade environment for optimum growth. Although Chrysophyllum albidum seedlings have lower growth rate in comparison with some forest fruit trees species, however, they tolerated low light intensity.