E3S Web Conf.
Volume 234, 2021The International Conference on Innovation, Modern Applied Science & Environmental Studies (ICIES2020)
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||02 February 2021|
Explaining the Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica M.) dieback by studying Water relations of young plants subject to an edaphic drought
1 Forests and Water Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Rabat, Morocco
2 Ibn Tofail University, Faculty of Sciences, Kénitra, Morocco
3 National Forestry School of Engineers, BP: 511, Tabriquet, CP: 11000, Salé, Morocco
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cedrus atlantica M. stands from the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco have been severely affected by dieback. The edaphic water deficit could be the cause that triggered this phenomenon leading to the mortality of dying trees. The objective of this work is to analyze the ecophysiological behavior of Atlas cedar seedlings subjected to an edaphic drought of progressive intensity. During the drying cycle, the relative moisture content of the substrate decreased significantly to reach 12.71% at the end of the test; 4.27% and 2.88% respectively for the basaltic, calcareous, and sandy substrate. The pre-dawn water potential reached very low values of -32.25, -37.38, and -39.50 bar at the end of the water drying cycle. The critical water potential varied between -36 and -39 bar depending on the type of substrate. The mean maximum stomatal conductance under favorable water conditions was of the order of 330 mmol/m2/s. It was reduced, due to drying, in proportion to the reduction in substrate moisture content. Atlas cedar maintains gas exchange under conditions of severe water stress but can be lethal with extreme and recurrent droughts. This behavior can explain the development of the phenomenon of cedar stand decline, which is more accentuated especially with adverse ecological conditions.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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