Response of Cocoa Trees (Theobroma cacao) to a 13-month Dessication Period in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Moser, G and Leuschner, C and Hertel, D and Michalzik, B and Prihastanti, Erma and Tjitrosemito, S and Schwendenmann, L (2010) Response of Cocoa Trees (Theobroma cacao) to a 13-month Dessication Period in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Agroforest Syst (Springerlink), 79 . pp. 171-187. ISSN DOI 10.1007/s10457-010-9303-1



In South-east Asia, ENSO-related droughts represent irregularly occuring hazards for agroforestry systems containing cocoa which are predicted to increase in severity with expected climate warming. To characterize the drought response of mature cocoa tree, we conducted the Sulawesi Throughfall Displacement Experiment in a shaded (Gliricidia sepium) cocoa agroforestry system in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Three large sub-canopy roofs were installed to reduce throughfall by about 80% over a 13-month period to test the hypotheses that (i) cocoa trees are sensitive to drought due to their shallow fine root system, and (ii)bean yield is more sensitive to drought than leaf or stem growth. As 83% of fine root (diameter <2mm) and 86% of coarse root biomass (>2mm) was located in the upper 40 cm of the soil, the cocoa tree examined had a very shallow root system. Cocoa and Gliricidia differed in their vertical rooting patterns, thereby reducing competition for water. Despite being exposed for several mnths to soil water contents close to the conventional wilting point, cocoa trees showed no significant decreases in leaf biomass, stem and branch wood production or fine root biomass. Possible causes are active osmotic adjusment in roots, mitigation of drought stress by shading from Gliricidia or other factors. By contrast, production of cocoa beans

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions:Faculty of Science and Mathematics > Department of Biology
ID Code:34869
Deposited On:31 Mar 2012 23:28
Last Modified:31 Mar 2012 23:28

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