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Physiological performance and biomass growth of different black locust origins growing on a post-mining reclamation site in Eastern Germany

Black Locust/Robinia can play an important role in land reclamation due to its pronounced nitrogen fixation capability, fast initial growth and relative high drought tolerance. Hence, we set up a trial to test 12 Black Locust clones and three provenances growing on sandy overburden material within the open cast lignite mine Welzow-Süd (South Brandenburg) in March 2014. Since then, biomass growth of the Black Locust trees was examined and physiological performance was studied on several occasions using chlorophyll a fluorescence and Dualex® measuring technique. Plant physiological measurements revealed differences in photosynthetic vitality (PIABS), although the PIABS values followed a similar pattern and sequences across the plot. While the genotypes Fra3 and Roy show the highest photosynthetic vitality, the clones Rog and Rob display the lowest PIABS mean values. Chlorophyll and phenol content as well as the nutrition supply of the test trees vary depending on their origin and site conditions. The annual biomass growth rate corresponds to photosynthetic vitality and both depend on weather conditions during the growing season. After six years, the growing biomass amounts to 14.7 Mg d.m. ha−1 for clone Rob and 44.8 Mg d.m. ha−1 for clone Fra3, i.e., 2.5 to 7.5 Mg d.m. ha−1 year−1. Our data demonstrate a good correlation between biophysical parameters and biomass growth. We, thus, infer that physiological measuring methods can be combined to strengthen predictions regarding the physiological performance of Black Locust origins.



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