, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 34-40

Laurel forests in Tenerife, Canary Islands

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Abstract

 Stand structure and leaf area distribution of a laurel forest in the Agua García mountains of Tenerife are described. The site is situated at 820 m a.s.l., faces NNE, and has a humid mediterranean climate. Summer droughts are mitigated by relatively high air humidity and clouds. The natural mixed hardwood forest is composed of six major tree species: Laurus azorica (Seub.) Franco, Persea indica (L.) Spreng, Myrica faya Ait., Erica arborea L. and two species of Ilex (I. platyphylla Webb & Berth. and I. canariensis Poivet.). The experimental stand had a density of 1693 trees ha – 1, a basal area of 33.7 m2ha – 1, and a cumulated volume of above-ground parts of trees of 231 m3 ha – 1 with a corresponding dry mass of 204 ton ha – 1. Diameters at breast height ranged from 6 to 46 cm. Mean concentration of plant dry mass per volume was 1.17 kg m – 3. The vertical pattern of leaf area distribution in individual trees for all tree species was characterized by a Gaussian-like curve. Stand leaf area index was 7.8. These evergreen, broad-leaved (laurisilva or lucidophyllous) forests represent a relic forest that was widespread in the Mediterranean region some 20 million years ago. Our data illustrate some of the structural characteristics of this historically widespread forest type.

Received: 2 December 1994 / Accepted: 6 November 1995