Seed germination, a critical stage of the plant life cycle providing a link between seeds and seedlings, is commonly temperature-dependent. The global average surface temperature is expected to rise, but little is known about the responses of seed germination of woody plants in temperate forests to warming. In the present study, dried seeds of 23 common woody species in temperate secondary forests were incubated at three temperature sequences without cold stratification and after experiencing cold stratification. We calculated five seed germination indices and the comprehensive membership function value that summarized the above indicators. Compared to the control, +2 and +4 °C treatments without cold stratification shortened germination time by 14% and 16% and increased the germination index by 17% and 26%, respectively. For stratified seeds, +4 °C treatment increased germination percentage by 49%, and +4 and +2 °C treatments increased duration of germination and the germination index, and shortened mean germination time by 69%, 458%, 29% and 68%, 110%, 12%, respectively. The germination of Fraxinus rhynchophylla and Larix kaempferi were most sensitive to warming without and with cold stratification, respectively. Seed germination of shrubs was the least sensitive to warming among functional types. These findings indicate warming (especially extreme warming) will enhance the seedling recruitment of temperate woody species, primarily via shortening the germination time, particularly for seeds that have undergone cold stratification. In addition, shrubs might narrow their distribution range.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call