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Ya'ar Bar'am—An old Quercus calliprinos forest of high nature conservation valuein the Mediterranean region of Israel

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Sclerophyllous oak forests are an important ecosystem type of the natural vegetation in the Mediterranean region. As a part of the mosaic-like landscape, old-growth oak forests, in particular, provide a wide range of ecosystem functions and services. However, due to the general scarcity of older forests in the Mediterranean region, studies on structure and dynamics of oak forests are mostly restricted to younger stands. The aim of this study was to analyze stand structure, dead wood, and natural regeneration of an old Quercus calliprinos forest in northern Israel (nature reserve Ya'ar Bar'am) and to compare the results with those reported from other evergreen Mediterranean oak forests. The mean density of trees was 735 ha-1, and the mean basal area amounted to 25.0 m2 ha-1. The mean tree height was 6.6 m, and the maximum tree height was 13.2 m. The mean dead wood volume was 11 m3 ha-1. The sapling density ranged from 1,050 to 6,250 ha-1. We conclude that Bar'am Forest is of great value for conservation biology. Moreover, this nature reserve has the potential to be a reference for ageing oak stands in current discussions on sustainable forest management.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Ecology and Environmental Chemistry, Leuphana University Lueneburg ; 2: Department Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing, University of Goettingen ; 3: Department of Zoology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University


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