Light Levels on Slash Pine

Categories: TreesWater

The Pinus elliotii, more commonly known as Slash Pine, are mostly found in the middle and lower coastal plain.The slash pine trees that are lower than 15 ft in height are part of the understory which is the lowest part of the forest. Considering this section is the lowest part of the forest, there would not be much sunlight reaching down to the trees; therefore,the trees would not be that high in height. The effect of light levels on slash pines to determine forestry management projects to help improve overall ecosystem vegetation as well as economic aspects.

Slash pine trees are commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere,along with parts of the northern hemisphere include North America and Russia. Slash pines strongly prefer acidic and sandy soils to regularly grow. In addition to this slash pines needs sunlight to grow regularly. Sunlight amongst other things such as water, and carbon dioxide would later be converted to sugars and starches during the process of photosynthesis.

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This is when autotrophs, in this case, pine trees, would absorb sunlight through its needles. Within the needles are chlorophyll,which basically helps to capture sunlight In addition to this chlorophyll makes photosynthesis feasible. Trees take in water, carbon dioxide,and sunlight to release oxygen as a waste product. During this process, the trees are creating sugar and starches which is their ‘food’. Pine trees then dispatch their food in a precise sequence starting by generating new roots, needles and reproductive structures; however, the plant makes sure that the entire tree received an equal amount of nutrients first before producing anything new or extending any branches or main root system.

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Next, the wood is spreaded throught the trunk, branches and the root system. Lastly, a chemical that acts as an antipest is produce by some trees as a safeguard (Wachman).

Besides photosynthesis, pine needles serve for another purpose. During the harsh winter season, there are dry winds which can harm the pine trees; however, pine trees have a specific adaptation to this that prevents the leaves or any part of the tree to dry up. Pine tree needles have a type of wax that performs as an antifreeze, this wax protects the pine tree from the harsh cold, dry air. Since pine trees are gymnosperms which means that they produce cones, not flowers,they reproduce differently than angiosperms (flower-bearing plants). For pine trees to reproduce they require cross-pollination which is pollen from a different tree comes to another tree to produce the seeds. Pine trees depend on the wind for fertilization to occur. When the cones develop, they would fall to the ground where then gradually over time the cones would open and the seeds inside would fall to the ground. With time, the seed could produce into another pine tree.

There are several different organisms that can harm the slash pine such as the spine spittlebug and the sawfly larvae. The spine spittlebug is really harmful to the tree due to their feeding holes which can bring a fungus called Diplodia Pini, this fungus weakens the pine tree. The sawfly larvae, on the other hand, feed on the needles on the pine tree, as mentioned earlier the chlorophyll in the pine needles makes its possible for photosynthesis to occur. Without photosynthesis pine tree can not be able to produce their own ‘food’, this can diminish the pine tree or the spciese if it spreads. There are other things besides living organisms that can affect the pine tree such as water and space. Without enough water, the pine tree is incapable to carry out photosynthesis. In addition to this, without enough space, the tree is not equipped to grow and expand its roots, when there is another plant blocking it. There are six basic layers that most common forests have, these layers include the: forest floor layer, the herb layer, shrub layer, understory layer, the canopy layer, and the emergent layer. The highest layer is the Emergent layer which consists of different types of the tallest trees in the area, this is where the trees crown colide together above the canopy layer (Klappenbach).

These are the tallest trees out of the entire forest; therefore, they receive the maximum amount of sunlight. After this layer comes the canopy level.This is a layer made up of crowns from other trees. In addition to this, this layer blocks the sunlight from coming into the understory due to the thickness of the tree’s crown. The overcrowding of the trees makes it effortless to spread disease and pest from one tree to another, this can cause the ecosystem to decline. Next comes the understory, which contains small trees, assuming that there is no opening in the canopy level. However, if there is a gap then a tree could become larger and may fill the void. Seedlings, ferns hedges, and saplings make up the shrub layer. This increases biodiversity since the trees that cant survive with the amount of sunlight they receive, their genes would not get passed on and the trees that do survive their genes get passed on. Finally, there is the forest floor layer which mainly consists of decomposing leaves and twigs among other things such as animal feces.

Decomposers such as earthworms and fungi break down these materials and recycle the rich nutrients throughout the forest. Forests are a significant part of the environment since a healthy forest provides clean air and water. Forestry management is a course of action is done by individuals who oversee the type of tree that would continue to grow by aiding the reconstruction of the forest. This can improve the forest by limiting disease, and supporting undeveloped saplings. In addition to this, soil erosion is reduced due to healthy trees having lively roots which preserves the soil and since there are strong trees in the forest this can provide shelter for small organisms like birds, the shelter can protect them from the severe weather like strong winds and rain A smiliar study conducted by Harry Williams, Christian Messier, and Daniel D. Kneeshaw was done to see the effects of light availability and sapling size on the growth and crown morphology of understory Douglas-fir and Lodgepole Pine (Harry Williams, Christian Messier, and Daniel D. Kneeshaw). This experiment resulted in saplings in full sunlight grew higher than the saplings in low sunlight. However, the smaller saplings grew greater than the larger saplings in the low light. The study also metioned that the growth of the plant depends on shade tolerence the Douglas-Fir grew more the Lodgepole Pine in height, crown morpholgy, and number of branches. The study noted that both samples (Douglas-fir and Lodgepole Pine) did not deminish but stayed the same height, especially the Lodgepole Pine.

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Light Levels on Slash Pine. (2021, Oct 04). Retrieved from

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