Qualities of planting stocks are critical factors for the success of forest plantations. Despite the huge number of annual seedling production in tree nurseries, awareness on quality of seedlings is very limited. This study evaluates the seedling quality across nursery ownership types in terms of morphological attributes and examines the effect of seedling quality on early growth and survival. Three nursery ownerships (private, GO and NGO) were selected from three districts of central Gondar zone with the assumption of different nursery management practices. Four tree/shrub species were selected purposively (common in all the nursery ownership types) and seedlings for quality assessment were sampled randomly. The study indicated that seedling qualities differ across the selected nursery ownership types and have significant effect on survival and early growth. Significant differences (α<0.05) were observed in the mean shoot length, root collar diameter, shoot and root dry masses among different tree nursery owners. These differences could be rooted from different management in different nursery ownership types. There were relatively higher seedling proportions having measured parameters out of threshold standards for height, root collar diameter, shoot to root ratio and height-diameter ratio in private owner. Generally, Grevillea robusta performed better in NGO, Rhamnus prinoides and Cordia africana in private nurseries and Cupressus lusitanica in GO nurseries. However, species, site, and management specific studies must be studied to clearly quantify seedling quality and the associated effect on early growth and survival.
Key words: Quality, tree seedlings, nursery ownerships, central Gondar zone.
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