INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Factors controlling deadwood availability and branch decay in two Prosopis woodlands in the Central Monte, Argentina
ALVAREZ, J.A.; . VILLAGRA, P.E.; VILLALBA, R.
FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Deadwood is an important resource commonly used by inhabitants in arid lands. However, the low wood productivity and the presence of multi-stemmed trees restrict the use. Prosopis flexuosa woodlands are protected and inhabited by pastoralists who have land rights to use natural resources. As in other forests in the world, dead branches are the most commonly used. The factors causing the death of branches these trees are unknown. As P. flexuosa is a highly heliophilous species, branch mortality may depend on the growth habit and orientation of dry branches under the tree crown. With the participation of inhabitants, we assessed the present availability of deadwood in two Prosopis woodlands of different structure (semiclosedand open woodland), and evaluated the formation of deadwood in terms of shape and cardinallocation of dry branches under the crown. We developed and compared regression models to estimate the amount of deadwood for erect, semi-erect and decumbent trees, and for the north and south areas under the crown (n = 120 trees). In addition, to determine the period of growth decline and the factors determining branch mortality, we compared annual radial increment between live and dead branches (n = 30 trees; 10 for each tree shape). The total amount of deadwood in adult Prosopis trees is higher in the semi-closed than in the open woodland (8.6 and 4.4 Tn ha1, respectively). Only tree size determined the amount of deadwood present in each Prosopis tree, since we found no evidence related to the shape of the tree or the position of dry branches in the canopy. Branch decay was a large process of 1820 years, and branch death appears to be the result of the action of climatic factors (dry period). The results suggest that the use of deadwood by the desert inhabitants is a tool that can potentially be used; however, the use of this resource taking into account the generation rates of deadwood has not been developed in arid lands. These practices at appropriate sites can contribute to a sustainable management of these woodlands, including the removal of deadwood in a model of local management on a site where potential productivity is relatively low.