, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 37–44 | Cite as

Root biomass, root distribution and the fine-root growth dynamics of Quercus coccifera L. in the garrigue of southern France

  • Jochen Kummerow
  • Margarete Kummerow
  • Louis Trabaud


Quercus coccifera L., the characteristic scrub oak of the garrigue, covers more than 100,000 ha in southern France alone. Precipitation in this area averages 900 mm/year and summer rains are not rare. A total belowground biomass of 7.2 kg/m2, including rhizomes and lignotubers, was harvested. Roots were concentrated in the uppermost 50 cm of the soil. It was hypothesized that low winter temperatures inhibit active fine-root growth. This hypothesis was tested by means of fine-root extractions of soil samples from 0–50 cm depth from November 1987 to June 1988. Although the fine-root analysis could not be extended into late summer and fall, the data supported the hypothesis. Ratios of live/dead fine roots reached their minimum at 0.2–0.3 from December to April. They increased to 1.0–1.2 during late spring and early summer. Initiation of fine-root growth in early April was synchronous with bud break. Starch contents of roots, rhizomes, and lignotubers fluctuated from 4.3% in January to 8.3% in April. The starch stored in belowground organs of Q. coccifera in a closed canopy stand amounted to about 500 g/m2 in April. This amount declined to 400 g with bud burst and fine-root growth initiation.


Lignotubers Mediterranean-type ecosystems Root excavation Starch contents 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jochen Kummerow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margarete Kummerow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louis Trabaud
    • 3
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoU.S.A.
  2. 2.Systems Ecology Research GroupSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoU.S.A.
  3. 3.Section d'Etudes des Systèmes Ecologiques, C.N.R.S.Centre Louis EmbergerMontpellierFrance

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