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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 124075, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/124075
Research Article

Effects of Tree Shelters on the Survival and Growth of Argania spinosa Seedlings in Mediterranean Arid Environment

1Direction Régionale des Eaux et Forêts et de la Lutte Contre la Désertification du Sud Ouest-Quartier Administratif, BP 520, 80000 Agadir, Morocco
2Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et de Valorisation des Ressources Naturelles, FSA, Université Ibn Zohr, BP 8106, Dakhla, 80060 Agadir, Morocco
3Centre de la Recherche Forestière, Avenue Omar Ibn Al Khattab, B.P. 763, Rabat, 10050 Agdal, Morocco

Received 29 July 2015; Accepted 18 October 2015

Academic Editor: L. M. Chu

Copyright © 2015 Chamchelmaarif Defaa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The argan tree is endemic species of Morocco. It occupies an area of more than 8700 km2 and plays essential ecological and economical roles. In spite of their value, the argan woodlands are subject to rapid and uncontrolled degradation during the last decades, mainly due to overgrazing and systematic collection of argan nuts. The present study was carried out to investigate the effects of two types of tree shelters on survival and growth of Argania spinosa seedlings planted in the southwest of Morocco in order to improve the results of reforestation programs which usually end by repeated failures. The experiment was conducted in the Mesguina forest for two growing seasons after transplantation in the field. After two years, the use of tree shelters significantly increased tree survival and allowed a gain of 20%. Height growth was positively affected by tree shelters. The use of tree shelters showed no significant decrease in basal diameter. In contrast, the height to diameter ratios of sheltered trees were much higher compared to the control. Thus, the use of the tree shelters could aid the early establishment and growth of Argania spinosa under conditions similar to those of the experiment.