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Maximum CO2 assimilation in young Eucalyptus plantations is higher than in Brazilian savanna trees during dry field seasons

  • Mariana G. ReisEmail author
  • Aristides Ribeiro
  • Elton E. N. Alves
  • Yhasmin P. Rody
  • Rodolfo A. Loos
  • Aline A. Vasconcelos
  • Wagner L. Araújo
Original Article


Key message

In terms of some specifics parameters, Eucalyptus and savanna trees were characterized by similar responses of resource use under field conditions. Remarkably, young eucalypt exhibited greater photosynthetic capacity, primarily in the dry season.


Although a growing demand for paper and pulp is enhancing pressure for land use to increase eucalypt plantations in tropical savanna regions around the world, it has not been thoroughly characterized to date how eucalypt plantations perform in terms of energy, water and CO2 assimilation exchange compared to native savanna species. In this study, we performed an integrative analysis of diurnal changes in gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) and water use efficiency of eucalypt and savanna species over a whole year in the Brazilian tropical savanna region in eastern Mato Grosso do Sul State. We also evaluated the response curves of net photosynthetic rate (A) in response to photosynthetic photon flux density in leaves of these species during both wet and dry seasons. Although dry season conditions led to decreases in all parameters, primarily in stomatal conductance (gs), Fv/Fm values remained above the level that causes photoinhibition. Young eucalypt exhibited mostly similar Amax values in wet and dry seasons, but adult eucalypt and savanna trees decreased their Amax by 83% and 69% in the dry season, respectively. Overall, all species were similar in photosynthetic terms and intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi), as demonstrated via principal component analysis. Despite major differences between wet and dry seasons, eucalypt plantations and savanna woody species were characterized by similar responses of resource use efficiency under field conditions. Remarkably, young eucalypt was characterized by higher photosynthetic capacity, particularly during the dry season.


Apparent quantum efficiency Brazilian savanna Chlorophyll fluorescence Eucalyptus grandis Leaf gas exchange Light response curve Water use efficiency 



We are grateful to Fibria Celulose S.A. for financial support and for logistical and human resources. The contributions of all field staff of Fibria Celulose S.A. are gratefully acknowledged, in addition to the support of Ms. Hugo Thaner dos Santos and Ms. Marcel Carvalho Abreu with the statistical analysis. We equally acknowledge Dr. Richard W. Bell (Murdoch University) for critical English language review of and suggestions regarding this work. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions which helped improve the manuscript.


This research was financially supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, process 184179/2015-1), Coordination for Scientific Support for Post-Graduate Level Training (CAPES), Foundation for Research Assistance of the Minas Gerais State (FAPEMIG) and Fibria Celulose S.A. Company.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2018_1800_MOESM1_ESM.docx (265.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 271874 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Engenharia AgrícolaUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de SolosUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  3. 3.Fibria CeluloseJacareíBrazil
  4. 4.Fibria CeluloseAracruzBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Biologia VegetalUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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