||Size of conducting phloem: The “key” factor for bark recovery of 12 tropical medicinal tree species
DELVAUX Claire ,
SINSIN Brice ,
Van Damme Patrick ,
BEECKMAN Hans ,
||For rural populations in Africa, tree bark is widely used for medicinal purposes. Despite its importance, no
anatomical studies exist which detail the recovery of medicinal tree species in Africa to bark harvesting.
This present study aims to determine the anatomical variable(s) that could help to predict the differing
recovery rates of 12 medicinal tree species. Discs of branches were collected from non-harvested trees of
12 different African species. A total of 12 anatomical variables were measured in the wood, the cambium
and the phloem zone, and the correlation between the bark recovery rate and each variable was tested.
Among the 12 anatomical variables tested, the thickness of the conducting phloem zone emerged as the
most important one to explain the bark recovery rate. The presence of sclereids within the conducting
phloem zone was also found to be an explanatory variable and was negatively correlated with the bark
recovery rate. For 10 out of the 12 species, the thickness of the cambial zone varied significantly with the
season. Nevertheless, this variable did not contribute significantly to the explanation of the bark recovery
rate. Given that the 12 studied species showed a large range of bark recovery rates (0.1–10.0 cm y−1), we
assume that they may be representative of the variety of wound healing responses (i.e. wood and bark
tissue production) in many of African tree species. Consequently, our results could offer the advantage
to foresee the potential of wound closure in any tree from which bark could be harvested.
||Bark regeneration, cambium, phloem, sclereids, West Africa, wood
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