Vertical structure of Erica umbellata, a representative species of European Ibero-Atlantic dry heaths



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Puentes, A. and Pías Couso, María Beatriz and Basanta, M. (2016) Vertical structure of Erica umbellata, a representative species of European Ibero-Atlantic dry heaths. Plant Biosystems . pp. 1-10. ISSN 1126-3504,

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The canopy structure of Erica umbellata was studied in order to (a) quantify biomass allocation among several organ types, (b) analyse the possible changes in vertical structure related to season and plant size, and (c) evaluate the effectiveness of non-destructive measures to estimate biomass for a species that is declining in some areas, due to fire and other human disturbances. The study was conducted in NW Spain, sampling E. umbellata plants belonging to three size groups. Destructive (biomass) and non-destructive (frequency, height, diameter) measures were used to characterise the vertical distribution and abundance of photosynthetic, woody, reproductive and dead organs. Allometric equations were calculated to estimate total mass using non-destructive measurements. As E. umbellata increases in size, those organs with a higher renewal rate (leaves, new stems, flowers) increase in the upper strata. Seasonal differences are recorded for the reproductive organs and new stems. A sharp decrease in the green/total phytomass ratio (from 0.51 to 0.17) is observed as plant size increases. Organ biomass can be accurately predicted from total weight and it is also possible to estimate the total weight from non-destructive measures, which provides an easier way of recording data in the field.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Architecture, Atlantic heathlands, biomass, frequency, predictive equations
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Botany
ID Code:42098
Deposited On:04 Apr 2017 16:29
Last Modified:09 Apr 2019 09:18

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