Mr James Amponsah1, Dr Joseph Asomaning1, Dr. Gloria Djagbletey1, Dr Bonaventure Maleeku2, Mr Paul Tandoh2
1Forestry Research Institute Of Ghana, Kumasi, Ghana, 2Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Phenological observation remains one of the most sensitive data in identifying how plant species respond to climatic changes. Phenological behaviour in plants have direct implication for their survival, reproduction and subsequent fitness of a population. Understanding the phenology and seed germination improvement techniques of endangered tropical forest trees, is a crucial step towards extinction prevention efforts. This study examined the phenology of two endangered forest trees in Ghana; Pericospsis elata and Talbotiella gentii over a three-year reproductive cycle. We also evaluated the effect of different dormancy breaking techniques on seeds of the species under ambient temperatures for 36 days. Period and intensity of leaf flushing, flowering, fruiting and seed dispersal phenophases of 105 individuals, were monitored and scored using the Biologische Bundesanstalt, and Chemical Industry (BBCH) codes. Leaf flushing in both species coincided with the onset of the wet season (April-July), which was closely followed by flowering during August and September. A strong positive correlation (r = 0.7325, p < 0.05) was established between the highest leaf flushing phenophase in T. gentii and mean monthly rainfall. The highest fruiting phenophase correlated negatively with mean monthly maximum temperatures in P. elata. We showed that chemical scarification (soaking in 2M H2SO4 for 20 minutes prior to sowing) improved seed germination in P. elata above 30%. Results indicate both species undergo a consistent and synchronised annual reproductive cycle more dependent on temperature than rainfall. We further predict that large scale climatic fluctuations may affect the reproductive and vegetative phenology of these species.
Mr James Amponsah is an early-career Scientist with keen interest in topical tree seed conservation. He holds and Mphil in Seed Science and Technology from the Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana and an MSc in Tropical forestry from the Bangor University in the UK. He has over six years of working experience as a Technical Officer at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG). He has seven published scientific journals in the area of tropical tree seed conservation and phenology.