Choice of reforestation species for the Maâmora forest (Morocco) according to the drought tolerance of juvenile seedlings.
Management plans for Maâmora forest in Morocco favored exotic species plantations extension at the expense of cork oak (Quercus suber), a climax species. Recurrent drought and the prospect of climate change make it necessary to re-assess the choice of tree species for reforestation in this forest. The objective of this work is to evaluate water relations and growth of Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Tetraclinis articulata, Quercus suber and Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica seedlings, which are subject to continuous soil water deficit. This affected negatively and significantly seedlings water status and their growth, but the effect varied significantly depending on species and drought duration. Water status and growth of Eucalyptus camaldulensis seedlings were more negatively affected by drying than those of other species. Growth loss of Eucalyptus camaldulensis seedlings was 22 to 65% depending on the target parameters. Reforestation in Maâmora forest should favor Quercus suber, Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica, and avoid Eucalyptus camaldulensis. Tetraclinis articulata should be introduced in least favorable biotopes for Quercus suber.