Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry




This work explores the possibilities of biomass production, for energy purposes, of Siberian elm in Mediterranean areas, including marginal lands with poor soil and low water availability. To achieve this, the influence of soil type, planting density, and water availability on biomass production were analyzed after the first 3 years of the growing cycle in 2 different locations. Moreover, a method to estimate biomass production as a function of some morphological parameters of the trees, as well as the use of leaf water potential as a good indicator of trees' water status, are discussed. The analysis of parameters having an influence on elm growth showed that soil type is the most important factor to obtain a good yield. In soils with enough nutrients and higher water-holding capacity, biomass productions in the range 13-14 Mg DM ha^{-1} were achieved even under rainfed conditions. In irrigated plots, Siberian elm production was more than double the production of biomass under rainfed conditions; however, significant differences were not found between the 2 different irrigation doses under study. Biomass yield was greater for the highest planting density (6666 plants ha^{-1}). Leaf water potential has been shown to be a useful tool for finding out plant water status. Tree growth showed a direct relationship to midmorning leaf water potential, and it was equal to 0 for leaf water potentials lower than -1.83 MPa; this value indicates a great resistance to drought by the species.

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