Water relations and the maintenance of Sierran conifers on hydrothermally altered rock

Evan H Delucia, W. H. Schlesinger, W. D. Billings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unusual, nutrient-poor soils derived from hydrothermally altered bedrock support open forests of Pinus ponderosa, P. jeffreyi, etc amongst the sagebrush and pinyon-juniper vegetation on typical desert soils of the Great Basin, W Nevada. As an index of soil moisture availability, predawn xylem pressure potential (XPP) and diurnal patterns of stomatal conductance were compared for various species. Data suggest that shrubs rapidly deplete soil moisture in the Great Basin desert, restricting the establishment of Sierran conifers to soils derived from altered rocks, which otherwise support minimal vegetation cover. The δ13C of foliage from conifers were higher than from Great Basin shrubs, suggesting that conifers maintain higher seasonally integrated water-use efficiencies. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalEcology
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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