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Plant water relations and edaphoclimatic conditions affecting acorn production in a holm oak (Quercus ilex L. ssp. ballota) open woodland

Authors
  • Carevic, F. S.1
  • Fernández, M.1
  • Alejano, R.1
  • Vázquez-Piqué, J.1
  • Tapias, R.1
  • Corral, E.1
  • Domingo, J.1
  • 1 University of Huelva, Departamento de Ciencias Agroforestales, Escuela Politécnica Superior, Campus de La Rábida, Palos de la Frontera, Huelva, 21819, Spain , Palos de la Frontera, Huelva (Spain)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Agroforestry Systems
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jul 18, 2009
Volume
78
Issue
3
Pages
299–308
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10457-009-9245-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Acorn production patterns and the annual evolution of water relations parameters of Quercus ilex ssp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. in a dehesa (an open woodland forest) subject to various soil treatments (ploughing, ploughing + sowing, control) were studied in southwest Spain from June 2006 to December 2008. The effects of soil water holding capacity and effective soil depth on soil and plant water status and acorn production were also investigated. Water parameters showed significant differences between the ploughing treatment and the control, and there were also significant temporal differences. Xylem water potential ranged from −3.4 ± 0.1 to −0.7 ± 0.2 MPa, and cuticular transpiration was 62.4–192.9 mmol H2O kg−1 s−1. Acorn production did not differ significantly according to soil treatment, and showed large intra-specific variability. Individual values ranged from 0 to 1,220 g m−2 (fresh weight). Positive relationships were found between xylem water potential, cuticular transpiration and relative water content measured at midsummer, and acorn production during the three studied years. These results suggest that climatic conditions and soil water availability have a strong influence on plant water status, and therefore on acorn development during summer. The results also reflect the ability of this species to adapt to the Mediterranean climate by preserving water during dry periods, which to a large extent can be attributed to stomatal closure at high relative water content levels, and low cuticular transpiration during these periods.

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