Foliar biomass production and litterfall pattern of five timber species in forest plantations of semi-arid lands of the northeastern Mexico
Fodder shrubs and trees have both economic as well as ecological values in most extensive systems of arid and semiarid regions.
As hypothesis, there is a relationship between the litterfall pattern and the foliar biomass production in forest plantations of semiarid areas, depending on the different seasons and species.
The studied species were: Acacia berlandieri (Benth.), Acacia wrightii (Benth.), Ebenopsis ebano (Berl.) Barneby, Havardia pallens (Benth.) Britton & Rose and Helietta parvifolia (Gray) Benth.
The foliar biomass was evaluated seasonally, from the dry weight of a representative branch of each species. The litterfall was collected every 15 days through litter traps installed under tree canopies, in experimental plantations of 30 years old, in the semi-arid zone of northeastern Mexico.
There were highly significant differences (p<0.01) both among species as seasons in the foliar biomass values, whereas there were no significant differences (P>0.05) among species in litterfall, but highly significant differences (P<0.01) among seasons. The foliar biomass reached the maximum production in summer (9029 kg ha-1) with E. ebano, while the lowest value (103 kg ha-1) was recorded with A. wrightii in winter. The litterfall greatest accumulation occurred in winter (296 kg ha-1) with A. wrightii. A significant linear correlation (R2=63%) was determined between accumulation of litterfall and foliar biomass production.As conclusion, the litterfall pattern is related to the foliar biomass production, depending on the seasons and species. That constitutes a practical tool for the management of the forest ecosystems in semiarid areas.
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