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C R Acad Sci III. 2001 Jul;324(7):627-34.

[The multistemmed structure of Juniperus thurifera: adaptive advantage in a severe environment?].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire d'écologie terrestre (UMR 5552), université Paul-Sabatier, 39, allée Jules-Guesde, 31062 Toulouse, France.


A comparative study of radial growth and biomass between multistemmed trees with variable number of stems and single-stemmed trees was carried out to better understand determinism and organisation of multicaulis structure of a juniper species (Juniperus thurifera L.) growing in high Mediterranean mountains (High Atlas, Morocco). It appears that all the stems of the same tree have similar ages and so simultaneous development. Their mean annual radial increments show significant differences because of probable competition for water and nutrient supply and obvious physical competition for space. The multistemmed trees characterized by low number of stems have the same mean annual radial growth as single-stemmed trees and more generally all multistemmed junipers have a higher biomass. The multicaulis structure of Juniperus thurifera thus could be considered as an adaptation to severe environment, characterized not only by hard topographical, edaphic and climatic conditions, but by strong human pressure too.

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