By Professor Dr. A. De Philippis (auth.), R. N. Kaul (eds.)
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Extra info for Afforestation in Arid Zones
In the more saline or alkaline zones, enclaves of special vegetation have developed in the same manner as in the subregions III and III (IV). A common characteristic of both the zones, as well as the other subregions studied, is the non-existence of Q,uercus ilex, which cannot stand the intensity of aridity; this justifies the general name of'infrailicine ground' by which these zones are known, although this terminology is used in the case of the drier parts of the Mediterranean region. The vegetation of these zones belongs, therefore, to the Durilignous type, which is different from Q,uercus ilex (presently known as 'Q,uercus ilex-Pistacia lentiscus').
This is usually the case for white, saline soils (solontchaks), with white efflorescences on the surface with little differentiation in the strata of a curdled structure (carbonate of lime), for which only a very limited number of tree species are suitable. The main problems which the physical and chemical characteristics of these soils constitute for the forester with regard to choice of species as well as for their plantation techniques are the following: Usually the soils in question have very little 'retention capacity', are very carbonated and often resting on a more or less thick cuirass.
These species are certainly well adapted on a long term basis to the local ecology, but their initial growth on the other hand is slow and much less in any case than that of many exotics. Now, as it was said, this afforestation is being undertaken to meet urgent needs; and it is also necessary that the young plantations have a very good initial growth so that they are in a position to defend themselves rapidly against grazing. That is why the search for quick-growing forest species is pursued with a view to producing useful products within as short a space of time as possible and less importance is given to the perenniality of the plantation.