Variation in seed and seedling traits of Faidherbia albida (DEL.) A. Chev populations in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Cameroon
The once sustainable agroforestry system in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Cameroon has been abandoned and trees overexploited. A study on the variability in seed and seedling traits of Faidherbia albida (DEL.) A. Chev populations from different climatic zones was carried out. Six populations were selected from Sudanian (Poli, Garoua III, and Figuil) and Sahelian (Yagoua, Moulvoudaye and Maroua I) climatic zones and harvested seeds were transported to the experimental farm of IRAD Yagoua for pretreatment and growth experiment. Four pretreatments (98% sulfuric acid, hot water, scarification and soaking in water for 24 hours) were used to initiate the germination. After one month, the rate of germination (%) was recorded and seedlings were transplanted in three substrates for seedling growth evaluation. Growth traits (Survival, plant height, root collar diameter, number of leaves, root length, plant fresh weight and plant dry weight) were measured after three months. The experimental design was a single tree plot randomized complete block design with 30 blocks. Results indicated there was significant difference (p = 0.002) among pre-treatments for the germination. The highest rate of germination was recorded with seedlings from scarified seeds (78.33%), followed by those from seeds treated with sulfuric acid (76.67%). Seeds and seedling traits were significant among populations with Yagoua recording the highest in most of the traits measured. Scarification can assist in seed germination and movement of seeds between populations and climatic zones should be considered during conservation programs.
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Keywords: Faidherbia albida, agroforestry parklands, seed pretreatments, seedling traits, conservation, Sudano-Sahelian, Cameroon