Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 70, No 2 (2013)

Dendrochronological study of the endangered shrub Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui (Brassicaceae): implications for its recovery and conservation


https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2359

Mar Génova
Departamento de Producción Vegetal: Botánica y Protección Vegetal, Escuela de Ingeniería Técnica Forestal, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

Jéssica Sánchez Espejo
Departamento de Producción Vegetal: Botánica y Protección Vegetal, Escuela de Ingeniería Técnica Forestal, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - Departamento de Biología (Botánica), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Felipe Domínguez Lozano
Departamento de Biología Vegetal II, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Juan Carlos Moreno Saiz
Departamento de Biología (Botánica), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Abstract


Dendrochronology is useful to determine plant longevity, to provide insights into the structure and dynamics of plant populations and to study the relationships between growth and environmental determinants. The dendrochronology of endangered shrubs is unexplored, although their use represents an opportunity to produce better conservation guidelines. We collected for this study 63 samples from already dead specimens of Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui (Brassicaceae), an endangered Spanish endemism from three localities. We analyzed the relationship between ring data and plant size to determine the accuracy of using size as a proxy for plant age. We also explored the relationships between ring data and environmental variables to detect growth determinants. This shrub showed a high longevity as older individuals presented nearly 50 growth rings. The relationship between age and size is weak although it could be established based on the logarithmic function of plant biovolume. Significant relationships were found between rainfall and ring widths, showing that water limited annual growth. Finally, age structure characterized differences among populations, highlighting the effects of disturbance and land use. These results provided new opportunities for management within the ongoing recovery plan for the species.

Keywords


Allometry; secondary growth; xylem; climate-growth relationships; plant conservation; dendrochronology; semiarid scrubland; Spain

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References


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