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Survival of Sarcopoterium Spinosum seedlings growing on terra rossa soil

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Seedling survival of the dwarf shrub Sarcopoterium spinosum growing on hilly terra rossa soil was monitored between 2000 and 2004 on forty 1 x 1-m quadrats, each of which contained a single shrub. Of the 40 shrubs, 20 (designated P+) received a dressing of super-phosphate in 1988 and 20 (designated P-) did not. After seed dispersal in 1999, the shrubs were uprooted to prevent further addition of seeds. Seed dispersal was monitored up to 50 cm from the edge of the mother shrub. There were large year-to-year differences in emergence that were not clearly related to the rainfall distribution. On the P+ quadrats the peak biomass of herbaceous vegetation was consistently greater and the number of emergent seedlings was consistently smaller than on the P- quadrats, but seedling survival was not related to differences in herbaceous biomass. Our main conclusions are: S. spinosum germination is extremely erratic from year to year; only 0.5 of an average of 8-14 seedlings m-2 that emerged, survived the first summer; these survivors had a good chance of becoming established plants; seedlings can become established in dense herbaceous vegetation; seedling dispersal was limited to 50 cm from the edge of the shrub; the current soil seed bank can maintain recruitment for at least 5 years without replenishment.

Affiliations: 1: Beef Cattle Section, Newe-Ya'ar Research Center, Department of Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Organization ; 2: MIGAL—Galilee Technological Center


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