Plant Ecology

, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 173-181

First online:

Aboveground biomass allocation and water content relationships in Mediterranean trees and shrubs in two climatological regions in Israel

  • Marcelo SternbergAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University
  • , Maxim ShoshanyAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, Bar-Ilan University

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Thisstudy investigated the variation along basipetal gradients of the relationshipsbetween the foliage/wood allocation ratios of biomass and of water content, inMediterranean trees and shrubs, at two different locations along a climaticgradient. Understanding of the biomass allocation and water relations inMediterranean trees and shrubs provides useful information on growth patternsofthese species, and on resource dynamics of these plant communities. Twoexperimental sites were selected along a climatological transect that runs fromthe foothills of the Judean Hills to the northern Negev desert in Israel. Ateach site, 16 quadrats of 10 × 10 m (eight on south-facingslopes and eight on north-facing slopes) were marked. The aboveground biomassofdominant tree and shrub species were estimated. Main branches of trees andshrubs were cut, their foliage and wood biomass were separately weighed, andtheir respective water contents were determined. The species studied includedthe evergreen sclerophylls, Quercus calliprinos, Phillyrealatifolia and Pistacia lentiscus, and thesemi-deciduous species, Cistus creticus, Coridothymuscapitatus and Sarcopoterium spinosum. Theresults indicated that the foliage/wood ratio decreased from the periphery ofthe crown to the interior of the trees and shrubs: foliage biomass and waterwere mainly limited to the top 30 cm of the crown in all studiedspecies. Leaves had higher relative water contents than woody tissues in theupper part of the crown. However; when the whole tree or shrub was considered,the relative water content was found to be mostly allocated to the woodystructures. The results are discussed in terms of biomass allocation in variouslife forms of the eastern-Mediterranean plant communities and how they areaffected by slope aspect and climatic conditions.

Aspect Canopy structure Climatic gradient Foliage/wood ratio Remote sensing Water relations