Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 9 No. 2  1997 Dec p.  78-92

Analysis of oil palm productivity. II. Biomass, distribution, productivity and turnover of the root system

Author(s): HENSON, I E*; CHAI, S H*

As part of a programme investigating the productivity of oil palms in West Malaysia, measurements were made of root standing biomass in two successive years at each of six sites. Palms at the first two sites were sampled three to four years after planting and the others at nine and ten years. One site was on a ‘coastal’ soil while the others were on ‘inland’ soils of various series. In two cases, direct comparisons were made of adjacent ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ areas.

On each site detailed measurements were also made of above-ground standing biomass and productivity. On each site root-free soil cores were ‘installed’ and sampled for roots after a six month period, allowing an assessment of new root production and providing a measure of root biomass turnover. An alternative estimate of root turnover was obtained for the coastal site using a carbon balance approach.

Ratios between root:shoot standing biomass and the proportion of total assimilates allocated to the shoot versus the root system are presented for each site.

Results are discussed in relation to those of other studies of oil palm root biomass.

Keywords: , ,

Author Information
* Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia, P.O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Present Address: 21 Hurrell Road, Cambridge CB4 3RQ, UK.

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