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Bosque (Valdivia)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9200


BECERRA, Pablo I; CRUZ, Gustavo; RIOS, Santiago  y  CASTELLI, Giorgio. Importance of irrigation and plant size in the establishment success of different native species in a degraded ecosystem of central Chile. Bosque (Valdivia) [online]. 2013, vol.34, n.1, pp.103-111. ISSN 0717-9200.

Irrigation has frequently been considered a necessary step in reforesting open areas of semiarid ecosystems. However, the success of irrigation has mainly been assessed using young and small plants, typically younger than two years old. Few studies have explored whether irrigation is also important with older and larger plants, and if the use of larger plants may enhance reforestation success. We tested the effect of irrigation and plant size on survival and height growth of six tree species from the Mediterranean region of Chile, for planting on a reclaimed fly ash landfill lacking woody vegetation. Between 2008 and 2010 we planted and monitored 160 plants of each species in a factorial design including 1- and 4-year-old trees (smaller and larger, respectively), with and without irrigation. Irrigation improved survival in more water-demanding species regardless of plant size, and primarily among smaller plants for species classified in the middle of a water requirement gradient. With more drought-resistant species, irrigation was not important for survival. The use of larger plants enhanced survival but not growth, and mainly in more water-demanding species. In general, height growth for some species was higher with irrigation and mainly among smaller plants.

Palabras clave : plant age; growth rate; restoration; sclerophyllous forest; survival.

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