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Productivity and Production Efficiency of an Upper Sonoran Desert Ephemeral Community

Duncan T. Patten
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 65, No. 8 (Sep., 1978), pp. 891-895
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2442185
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Productivity and Production Efficiency of an Upper Sonoran Desert Ephemeral Community
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Abstract

During years with good winter rainfall, ephemeral plants can contribute considerably to primary production in the upper Sonoran Desert This study was designed to compare ephemeral community productivity and production efficiency within the different microhabitats created by trees, shrubs and open spaces in a Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Ephemerals were periodically harvested in the different habitats and dried for biomass and caloric determinations. The caloric data were compared to total solar input into the different microhabitats in order to determine production efficiencies of each stand Productivity rates were also determined for the total community for the sample period, winters of 1972-74 Both productivity and production efficiency were highest under the shade of Cercidium. The highest production efficiency occurring in the shaded sites was 5.03% which approaches the theoretical maximum photosynthetic efficiency level. The production efficiency of the entire ephemeral community for the whole growing season was only 0 17% during an optimal year, demonstrating the influence of the environment in the interspaces on productivity and solar conversion in the desert.

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