proposed silviculture for nothofagus pumilio forests are based on the canopy open to stimulate natural regeneration growth through the increasing of soil moisture and light availability at the understory level. seedlings growth will be related to the plasticity for these new stand conditions. for this, the objective was to analyze morphological and ecophysiological changes of seedlings growing in controlled conditions under two soil moisture levels along a light intensity gradient. two to three years-old seedlings were obtained from one old-growth forests during september 2005, and were transplanted into plastic pots in a greenhouse under two soil moisture levels (40-60% and 80-100% soil capacity) and three light intensities (4%, 26% and 64% natural incident irradiance). morphological (height, number, size and shape of the leaves, number of branches, foliar area, root density, biomass compartments and leaf histology) and ecophysiological (photosynthesis, respiration, pigment content, relative water content in leaves, stomata conductance, nutrient content and water potential of apical shoots) variables were measured during january 2006. one-way anovas was conducted to evaluate changes according to soil moisture levels for each light intensity level, as well as multivariate analyses to evaluate interactions among factors. seedlings showed best growth performances under a low soil moisture level (40-60% soil capacity). growing response to the different soil moisture levels was related to light availability, where a middle light level presented the best growth rates. high light levels produced negative results for seedling growth. in this work, evidences suggested that changes in the anatomical variables, chemical composition and water status relations, allowing to a high plasticity to survive under different conditions of soil moisture and light intensities. these results can be used to suggest better silviculture proposals to improve seedling growth after harvesting.