Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 637–645 | Cite as

Sensitivity to high temperature and water stress in recalcitrant Baccaurea ramiflora seeds

  • Bin Wen
  • Minghang Liu
  • Yunhong Tan
  • Qiang Liu
Regular Paper


Southeast Asia experiences one of the highest rates of deforestation in the tropics due to agricultural expansion, logging, habitat fragmentation and urbanization. As tropical rainforests harbour abundant recalcitrant-seeded species, it is important to understand how recalcitrant seeds respond to deforestation and fragmentation. Baccaurea ramiflora is a recalcitrant-seeded species, widely distributed in Southeast Asian tropical rainforest. In this study, B. ramiflora seeds were sown in three plots, one in a nature reserve and two in disturbed holy hill forests, to investigate seed germination and seedling establishment in the field, while laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of high temperature and water stress on germination. It was found that seed germination and seedling establishment in B. ramiflora were clearly reduced in holy hills compared to the nature reserve, although the seeds were only moderately to minimally recalcitrant. This was potentially caused by increased temperature and decreased moisture in holy hills, for laboratory experiments showed that seed germination was greatly inhibited by temperatures ≥35 °C or water potentials ≤−0.5 MPa, and depressed by heat treatment at 40 °C when the continuous heating period lasted for 240 h or daily periodic heating exceeded 10 h. Unlike orthodox seeds, which can endure much higher temperatures in the air-dried state than in the imbibed state, both blotted and immersed B. ramiflora seeds lost viability within a narrow temperature range between 50 and 60 °C. As recalcitrant seeds can be neither air-dried nor heated, species producing recalcitrant seeds will suffer more than those producing orthodox seeds in germination and seedling establishment from increased temperature and decreased moisture in fragmented rainforests, which results in sensitivity of recalcitrant-seeded species to rainforest fragmentation.


High temperature stress Rainforest fragmentation Recalcitrant seeds Seed germination Species shift Water restriction 



We are grateful to Prof. Richard T. Corlett in our botanical garden for his constructive comments on this study, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31170626) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) 135 Program (XTBG-F03) are thanked for providing financial support for this research.


  1. Achard F, Eva HD, Stibig H, Mayaux P, Gallego J, Richards T, Malingreau J (2002) Determination of deforestation rates of the World’s humid tropical forests. Science 297:999–1002CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bai X, Chen J, Kong X, Todd CD, Yang Y, Hu X, Li D (2012) Carbon monoxide enhances the chilling tolerance of recalcitrant Baccaurea ramiflora seeds via nitric oxide-mediated glutathione homeostasis. Free Radical Bio Med 53:710–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bear JL, Giljohann KM, Cousens RD, Williams NSG (2012) The seed ecology of two invasive Hieracium (Asteraceae) species. Aust J Bot 60:615–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camargo JLC, Kapos V (1995) Complex edge effects on soil moisture and microclimate in Central Amazonian Forest. J Trop Ecol 11:205–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cao M, Zhu H, Wang H, Lan GY, Hu YH, Zhou SS, Deng XB, Cui JY (2008) Xishuangbanna tropical seasonal rainforest dynamics plot: Tree distribution maps, diameter tables and species documentation. Yunnan Science and Technology Press, KunmingGoogle Scholar
  6. Chauhan BS, Johnson DE (2008a) Germination ecology of Southern crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris) and India crabgrass (Digitaria longiflora): two important weeds of rice in tropics. Weed Sci 56:722–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chauhan BS, Johnson DE (2008b) Influence of environmental factors on seed germination and seedling emergence of eclipta (Eclipta prostrata) in a tropical environment. Weed Sci 56:383–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chauhan BS, Johnson DE (2009) Seed germination and seedling emergence of synedrella (Synedrella nodiflora) in a tropical environment. Weed Sci 57:36–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davidson EA, de Araújo AC, Artaxo P, Balch JK, Brown IF, Bustamante MMC, Coe MT, DeFries RS, Keller M, Longo M, Munger JW, Schroeder W, Soares-Filho BS, Souza CM, Wofsy SC (2012) The Amazon basin in transition. Nature 481:321–328CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Davies-Colley RJ, Payne GW, van Elswijk M (2000) Microclimate gradients across a forest edge. New Zeal J Ecol 24:111–121Google Scholar
  11. Farnsworth E (2000) The ecology and physiology of viviparous and recalcitrant seeds. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 31:107–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farrant JM, Pammenter NW, Berjak P (1988) Recalcitrance: a current assessment. Seed Sci Technol 16:155–166Google Scholar
  13. ISTA (2006) International rules for seed testing, edition 2005. International Seed Testing Association, BasserdorfGoogle Scholar
  14. Lang ARG (1967) Osmotic coefficients and water potentials of sodium chloride solutions from 0 to 40°C. Aust J Chem 20:2017–2023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Laurance WF (2007) Forest destruction in tropical Asia. Curr Sci 93:1544–1550Google Scholar
  16. Laurance WF, Ferreira LV, Merona JMR, Laurance SG (1998a) Rain forest fragmentation and the dynamics of Amazonian tree communities. Ecology 79:2032–2040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Laurance WF, Ferreira LV, Merona JMR, Laurance SG, Hutchings RW, Lovejoy TE (1998b) Effects of forest fragmentation on recruitment pattern in Amazonian tree communities. Conserv Biol 12:460–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Laurance WF, Nascimento HEM, Laurance SG, Andrade A, Ribeiro JLS, Giraldo JP, Lovejoy TE, Condit RC, Chave J, Harms KE, D’Angelo S (2006) Rapid decay of tree-community composition in Amazonian forest fragments. PNAS 103:19010–19014CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Li HM, Ma YX, Liu WJ, Liu WJ (2009) Clearance and fragmentation of tropical rain forest in Xishuangbanna, SW China. Biodivers Conserv 18:3421–3440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liu JJ, Slik JWF (2014) Forest fragment spatial distribution matters for tropical tree conservation. Biol Conserv 171:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu WJ, Li QJ, Zhang GM, Shi JP, Bai KJ (2000) Microclimatic characteristics of canopy gaps in Shorea chinensis forest in Xishuangbanna. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica 24:356–361 (in Chinese, with English abstract) Google Scholar
  22. Liu Q, Lan QY, Wen B, Tan YH, Wang XF (2014) Germination of recalcitrant Baccaurea ramiflora seeds. ScienceAsia 40:101–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ma YX, Liu YH, Zhang KY (1998) On microclimate edge effects of tropical rainforest fragments in Xishuangbanna. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica 22:250–255 (in Chinese, with English abstract) Google Scholar
  24. Michel BE (1983) Evaluation of water potentials of solutions of polyethylene glycol 8000 both in the absence and presence of other solutes. Plant Physiol 72:66–70CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Nghiem LTP, Tan HTW, Corlett RT (2015) Invasive trees in Singapore: are they a threat to native forests? Trop Conserv Sci 8:201–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Roberts EH (1973) Predicting the storage life of seeds. Seed Sci Technol 1:499–514Google Scholar
  27. Roberts EH, King MW (1980) The characteristics of recalcitrant seeds. In: Chin HF, Roberts EH (eds) Recalcitrant crop seeds. Tropical Press SND, Kuala Lumpur, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  28. Sodhi NS, Koh LP, Clements R, Wanger TC, Hill JK, Hamer KC, Clough Y, Tscharntke T, Posa MRC, Lee TM (2010) Conserving Southeast Asian forest biodiversity in human-modified landscapes. Biol Conserv 143:2375–2384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tollefson J (2015) Battle for the Amazon. Nature 520:20–23CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Tweddle JC, Dickie JB, Baskin CC, Baskin JM (2003) Ecological aspects of seed desiccation sensitivity. J Ecol 91:294–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wen B (2015) Effects of high temperature and water stress on seed germination of the invasive species Mexican sunflower. PLoS One 10:e0141567CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. Wen B, Cai YF (2014) Seed viability as a function of moisture and temperature in the recalcitrant rainforest species Baccaurea ramiflora (Euphorbiaceae). Ann Forest Sci 71:853–861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wen B, Xue P, Zhang N, Yan Q, Ji MY (2015) Seed germination of invasive species Piper aduncum as affected by high temperature and water stress. Weed Res 55:155–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Williams-Linera G (1990) Vegetation structure and environmental conditions of forest edges in Panama. J Ecol 78:356–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu ZY, Raven PH, Hong DY (2008) Flora of China. Science Press, Beijing (Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis) Google Scholar
  36. Yu Y, Baskin JM, Baskin CC, Tang Y, Cao M (2008) Ecology of seed germination of eight non-pioneer tree species from a tropical seasonal rain forest in Southwest China. Plant Ecol 197:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhu H, Xu ZF, Wang H, Li BG (2004) Tropical rain forest fragmentation and its ecological and species diversity changes in Southern Yunnan. Biodivers Conserv 13:1355–1372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhu H, Wang H, Zhou SS (2010) Species diversity, floristic composition and physiognomy changes in a rainforest remnant in Southern Yunnan, China after 48 years. J Trop Forest Sci 22:49–66Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bin Wen
    • 1
  • Minghang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yunhong Tan
    • 1
  • Qiang Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglaChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations