Plant and Soil

, Volume 202, Issue 2, pp 317–326 | Cite as

End-of-season soil water depletion in relation to growth of herbaceous vegetation in a sub-humid Mediterranean dwarf-shrub community on two contrasting soils

  • Z. Henkin
  • N.G. Seligman
  • U. Kafkafi
  • D. Prinz
Article

Abstract

Dwarf-shrub communities of Sarcopoterium spinosum dominate large areas of the landscape on hilly, eastern Mediterranean rangelands. Colonisation of new areas depends on the establishment of seedlings that must compete for water with the ubiquitous annual herbaceous species during the spring-winter growing season and also survive the first hot, dry summer. The present study investigated the role of the herbaceous vegetation patches growing between S. spinosum shrubs on the depletion of soil water during the critical transition period between the cool, rainy season and the dry summer. Dense and sparse herbaceous vegetation stands were established in S. spinosum dwarf-shrub communities by differential use of fertiliser on two contrasting soil types – a terra rossa overlying hard limestone where seedling establishment is low and a pale rendzina overlying a soft chalk substrate where seedling establishment is high. Soil water in the main root zone of the herbaceous vegetation between the shrubs was monitored with protected gypsum block sensors permanently placed at two depths (10 and 33 cm). Soil water depletion during the transition from the wet to the dry season was significantly more rapid under dense vegetation only on the terra rossa soil where the herbaceous vegetation also matured more rapidly than on the rendzina soil. However, in both habitats and under both dense and sparse vegetation, soil water depletion during the transition period left very little available water in the rooting zone of the herbaceous vegetation to maintain shrub seedlings throughout the summer. It was concluded that the difference in shrub seedling establishment success in the two habitats mainly reflects the differences in accessibility of water below the rooting zone of the herbaceous vegetation growing on the two contrasting soil types.

gypsum soil-moisture sensors pale rendzina Sarcopoterium spinosum seedling establishment terra rossa 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Banin A and Amiel A 1969/70 A correlative study of the chemical and physical properties of a group of natural soils of Israel. Geoderma 3, 185–198.Google Scholar
  2. Bayin A 1967 [Hydrology of formations from Cenomanian-Turonian age in the central-eastern Galilee]. M.Sc. Thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  3. Black C A 1965 Methods for Soil Analysis. Part 1. A.S.A. Monograph No. 9, Amer. Soc. Agron., Madison, WI, USA. pp 99–104.Google Scholar
  4. Dan J, Yaalon D H, Koyumdjisky H and Raz Z 1975 The soil association map of Israel (1:500,000). Pamphlet No. 147, Div. of Scientific Publications, Agricultural Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel.Google Scholar
  5. Fowler W B and Lopushinsky W 1989 An economical digital meter for gypsum soil moisture blocks. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 53, 302–305.Google Scholar
  6. Goldberg D and Novoplansky A 1997 On the relative importance of competition in unproductive environments. J Ecol. 85, 409–418.Google Scholar
  7. Henkin Z 1994 The Effect of Phosphorus Nutrition, Shrub Control and Fire on the Dynamics of Mediterranean Batha Vegetation in the Galilee. Ph.D. Thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.Google Scholar
  8. Henkin Z, Seligman N G, Noy-Meir I, Kafkafi U and Gutman M 1998a Rehabilitation of Mediterranean dwarf-shrub rangeland with herbicides, fertilizers and fire. J Range Manage. 51, 193–199.Google Scholar
  9. Henkin Z, Seligman N G, Kafkafi U and Noy-Meir I 1998b 'Effective growing days': a simple predictive model of the response of herbaceous plant growth in a Mediterranean ecosystem to variation in rainfall and phosphorus availability. J Ecol. 86, 137–148.Google Scholar
  10. Koyumdjiski H, Dan J, Soriano S and Nissim S 1988 Selected Profiles from Israeli Soils. ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel.Google Scholar
  11. Litav M, Kupernik G and Orshan G 1963 The role of competition as a factor in determining the distribution of dwarf-shrub communities in the Mediterranean territory of Israel. J. Ecol. 51, 467–480.Google Scholar
  12. Litav M and Orshan G 1971 Biological Flora of Israel. Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Sp. Israel J. Bot. 20, 48–64.Google Scholar
  13. McAuliffe J R 1988 Markovian dynamics of simple and complex desert plant communities. Amer. Nat. 131: 459–490.Google Scholar
  14. Seligman N G and van Keulen H 1989 Herbage production of a Mediterranean grassland in relation to soil depth, rainfall and nitrogen nutrition: a simulation study. Ecol. Mod. 47, 303–311.Google Scholar
  15. Shultz A M, Launchbaugh J L and Biswell H H 1955 Relationship between grass density and brush seedling survival. Ecology 36, 226–238.Google Scholar
  16. Spaans E J A and Baker J M 1992 Calibration of Watermark soil moisture sensors for soil matric potential and temperature. Plant Soil 143, 213–217.Google Scholar
  17. Van Keulen H 1975 Simulation of water use and herbage growth in arid regions. Simulation Monographs, Pudoc, Wageningen. 176 p.Google Scholar
  18. Zohary M 1973 Geobotanical Foundations of the Middle East. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany; and Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Henkin
    • 1
  • N.G. Seligman
    • 1
  • U. Kafkafi
    • 2
  • D. Prinz
    • 3
  1. 1.MIGAL – Galilee Technological CenterQiryat ShemonaIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Institut fuer Wasserbau und KulturtechniekUniversität Karlsruhe (TH)KarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations