Soil development mediated by traditional practices shape the stand structure of Spanish juniper woodland

Javier de la Fuente-Leon, Edgar Lafuente-Jimenez, Daphne Hermosilla, Miguel Broto-Cartagena, Antonio Gasco


Aim of study: Assessing the effect of soil development on the stand structure of a Spanish juniper forest traditionally shaped by livestock browsing and wood extraction.
Area of study: Berlanga de Duero (Soria, Castilla y León), Spain.
Material and Methods: A stand inventory served to record stand structure. Tree age, height, DBH, basal area, and overbark volume were determined in each plot. Results were pooled considering two well-differentiated degrees of soil evolution. One-way ANOVAs (and Tukey’s test) and regressions between growth parameters were performed to assess significant differences between growth performances on both types of soils.
Research highlights: Deeper soils yielded significant higher plant density and stand stock figures than stony shallower profiles despite the intense past livestock activity in the area; and single tree-size was also significantly greater. Non-significant differences were found for merchantable junipers age (≈120-160 years). Wood extraction and livestock browsing should be limited on shallower soils to allow soil and forest evolution; as well as to preserve the genetic pool better adapted to hardest growing conditions.

Keywords: livestock browsing; forest development; Juniperus thurifera L.; soil evolution; stand stock.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2014231-03674