Resource Details

Release from root competition promotes tree seedling survival and growth following transplantation into human-induced grasslands in Sri Lanka

Literature: Journal Articles

Gunaratne, A.M.T.A., Gunatilleke, C.V.S., Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N., Madawala Weerasinghe, H.M.S.P. & Burslem, D.F.R.P. 2011, "Release from root competition promotes tree seedling survival and growth following transplantation into human-induced grasslands in Sri Lanka", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 262, no. 2, pp. 229-236.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:, 


  • Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya 20400, Sri Lanka
  • Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Cruickshank Building, St. Machar Drive, Aberdeen AB24 3UU, Scotland, UK


Forest Ecology and Management

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Species Info

  • Dimocarpus longan
  • Macaranga indica
  • Symplocos cochinchinensis
  • Syzygium spathulatum


  • This study evaluated the growth and survival of four native tree species planted as seedlings in grassland (the grass had invaded previously abandoned tea plantations).
  • Forty-eight individuals of each species at various sites along a gradient of grassland, grassland/forest edge, and forest. 
  • Each seedling underwent one of eight different treatments based the various combinations of: with or without root competition, shoot competition, and vertebrate herbivory. Seedlings that died within the first month were replaced. 
  • Growth and survival was evaluated at 18 and 28 months. 
  • The authors found that root competition was a more significant constraint on seedling growth and survival than above-ground competition and herbivory. 
  • Three of the species, Macaranga indica, Schygium spathulatum, and Symplocos cohinchinensis showed positive growth responses to reduced root competition while just the fast-growing light demanding species, Macaranga indica, had higher survival upon the removal of root competition.
  • Symplocos cochinchinensis had the highest growth and survival with and without root competition. 
  • The authors suggest that intensive site preparation to reduce the root competition might be necessary for restoration of these species in the grassland.
  • Additionally, they recommend that the Macaranga and Sympolocus species would be the most promising for native species reforestation in the grasslands. 

Geographical Region

  • South Asia
  • Country

  • Sri Lanka
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