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Salinity tolerance and reclamation potential of two widely distributed subtropical tree species

Arslan Arif, Irfan Ashraf, Muhammad Safdar Hussain and Rashid Iqbal

Soil salinity threatens land productivity and food security, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide. Phytoremediation is a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach for mitigating salinity impacts in irrigated agricultural landscapes. In this regard, a pot experiment study was conducted to evaluate the salt tolerance and reclamation potential of two commonly planted tree species in subtropical regions globally, Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Syzygium cumini, under various salinity treatments: Control, 8 dS m-1, and 16 dS m-1. Results revealed that salinity negatively affected the growth and biomass production of both tested species, with more prominent effects on S. cumini. E. camaldulensis exhibited the lowest reduction in shoot height (22%) and dry biomass (40%), while S. cumini showed a 30% and 53% decrease in both traits, respectively, under 16 dS m-1 salinity. Correspondingly, increased antioxidant enzyme activities became a defense mechanism in E. camaldulensis as peroxidase (2.51–8.41 U mg-1 protein), superoxide dismutase (3.12–11.35 U mg-1 protein), and catalase (38–83.21 U mg-1 protein) at 16 dS m-1. Moreover, E. camaldulensis reduced the highest levels of soil SAR and ECe by maintaining the optimum Na, Cl, and K ratios. Thus, the present study suggests that E. camaldulensis maintained higher growth and exhibited an effective antioxidant defense mechanism under various salinity levels, suggesting higher potential for the amelioration of saline soils. These results demonstrate a quick and powerful screening mechanism to assess potential reclamation tree species for saline environments

To Cite this article: Arif, A., I. Ashraf, M.S. Hussain and R. Iqbal. 2024. Salinity tolerance and reclamation potential of two widely distributed subtropical tree species. Pak. J. Bot., 56(4): DOI:  

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