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    Description

    In Puerto Rico, brackish water wetlands were dominated by Pterocarpus officinalis previous to extensive deforestation due to agriculture. Today remnant wetlands are limited to small areas that are threatened by rise in sea level. We examined the root nodules of P. officinalis in montane and coastal sites and at 0, 10, 20 cm from the surface to determine if site conditions relate to the formation and characteristics of nitrogen fixing nodules. We found no significant difference in nodule quantity between montane and coastal ecosystems. However, although all the montane sites experienced nodule growth, there were sites in the coast that did not. The montane sites had 96.3 percent of nodules active, whereas the coastal had 82.2 percent. Nodule mass and diameter were significantly larger near the surface of the soil and in montane sites. More research is needed to understand if nitrogen fixing and accumulation rates also differ between the coastal and montane sites where P. officinalis occurs. Studying the presence, distribution, and potential environmental conditions that are related to nodule formation will be helpful in developing management strategies and conservation initiatives to maintain this species and the wetland forests in which it occurs.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Perez, Rachel; Heartsill Scalley, Tamara. 2008. Root nodulation in the wetland tree Pterocarpus officinalis along coastal and montane systems of Northeast of Puerto Rico. Acta Científica. 22(1-3): 45-54.

    Keywords

    Pterocarpus officinalis, deforestation, wetlands, nitrogen fixation, root nodules, coastal ecosystems, forest management, conservation

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