Propagation and Seedling Cultivation of the Endemic Species Nothofagus alessandrii Espinosa in Central Chile

Authors

  • Rómulo Santelices,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Agrarian and Forestry Sciences, Department of Forestry Science and Dryland Technology Centre, Maule Catholic University, Casilla 617, Talca, Chile
      R. Santelices, email rsanteli@ucm.cl
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  • Rafael M. Navarro-Cerrillo,

    1. Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering, Córdoba University, Avenida Menéndez Pidal s/n, 14080 Córdoba, España
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  • Fernando Drake

    1. Faculty of Forestry Sciences, Department of Forest Management and Environment, Concepción University, Casilla 160-C, Correo 3, Concepción, Chile
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R. Santelices, email rsanteli@ucm.cl

Abstract

Nothofagus alessandrii is an endemic and endangered species from the Maule Region of Central Chile. The forests it once dominated have been severely degraded and fragmented by human activities, and it is estimated that only 350 ha remain. Yet, available information for propagation and nursery plant cultivation of this species is conspicuously lacking. Future efforts to restore this ecosystem type will rely, in large part, on advancing the capacity to propagate and cultivate this highly threatened species. To this end, we studied the response (germination process and nursery growth) of viable seeds of N. alessandrii to different pre-germination treatments, sowing times, and slow-release fertilizer. The highest germination percentages were obtained with cold stratification for periods of 30 and 45 days (84.9 and 82.6%, respectively). Sowing time was also relevant, with seeds obtaining highest germination rates (53%) when sowing during spring season (September) as well as the best growth rates. Both cold stratification and GA3 treatments can provide adequate germination percentage and similar seedling quality. After one nursery season, no clear effect of slow-release fertilizer on plant growth was observed. The results of this study provide important baseline information for propagation and nursery techniques for restoration programs of N. alessandrii.

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