A drought resistance index to select drought resistant plant species based on leaf water potential measurements
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The water deficit in arid and semi-arid regions is the primary limiting factor for the development of urban greenery and forestation. In addition, planting the species that consume low levels of water is useful in arid and semi-arid regions that have poor water management measures. Leaf water potential (Ψ) is a physiological parameter that can be used to identify drought resistance in various species. Indeed, Ψ is one of the most important properties of a plant that can be measured using a pressure chamber. Drought avoiding or drought resistant species have a lower Ψ than plants that use normal or high levels of water. To determine drought resistance of species that are suitable for afforestation in arid urban regions, we evaluated twenty woody species in the Isfahan City, central Iran. The experimental design was random split-split plots with five replications. The species were planted outdoor in plastic pots and then subjected to treatments that consisted of two soil types and five drip irrigation regimes. To evaluate the resistance of each species to drought, we used the Ψ and the number of survived plants to obtain the drought resistance index (DRI). Then, cluster analysis, dendrogram, and similarity index were used to group the species using DRI. Result indicates that the evaluated species were classified into five groups: (1) high water consuming species (DRI>–60 MPa); (2) above normal water consuming species (–60 MPa≥DRI>–90 MPa); (3) normal water consuming species (–90 MPa≥DRI>–120 MPa); (4) semi-drought resistant species (–120 MPa≥DRI>–150 MPa); and (5) drought resistant species (DRI≤–150 MPa). According to the DRI, Salix babylonica L., Populus alba L., and P. nigra L. are high water consuming species, Platanus orientalis L. and Albizia julibrissin Benth are normal water consuming species, and Quercus infectoria Oliv. and Olea europaea L. can be considered as drought resistant species.
Key wordsdrought resistant species drought resistance index forestation leaf water potential water deficit
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We would like to thank students of the Isfahan University of Technology, Iran for help us to perform this research.
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