Populus euphratica Oliv. is a main tree species that forms natural riparian forests in arid and semi-arid areas from Morocco to the Ordos Plateau. This study is designed to clarify the forest structure and dynamics of P. euphratica and to elucidate the ecological mechanisms sustaining riparian forests under unreliable environmental conditions. This study was conducted in a P. euphratica forest of the Ejina Oasis in Inner Mongolia, China, which is a hyperarid area. According to their tree size distribution, P. euphratica forests can be grouped into juvenile, mature, and overmatured stages. Almost all large P. euphratica showed dieback. The regeneration density on the forest floor shows a relation with the degree of height decrease due to dieback damage, as evaluated using the ratio of actual height to the maximum height estimated from the D-H relation. Therefore, after the mature stage, individual trees continue to grow while controlling their canopy size to adjust to changing environmental conditions in the overmatured stage. Our results suggest that P. euphratica growing under large fluctuations in groundwater levels exhibit a sophisticated regeneration system with canopy degradation.
- Ejina oasis
- Forest structure
- Populus euphratica Oliv.
- Riparian forest
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law