Assessing the Effects of Drought and Temperature on the Establishment of Juniperus seravschanica Saplings in Northern Oman


  • Khalid Al Farsi Department of Landscape University of Sheffield
  • Ross Cameron Department of Landscape University of Sheffield
  • James Hitchmough Department of Landscape University of Sheffield
  • Darach Lupton Oman Botanic Garden



Cultivation, Conservation Botanic Gardens, Horticulture


Climate change poses a serious threat to the survival and distribution of Juniperus seravschanica in the northern mountains of Oman. A better understanding of this species’ responses to environmental changes is essential if the potentially harmful effects of climate change are to be mitigated. One such step is to understand how changes in climate may influence the growth of juniper saplings. Two- and five-year-old saplings were grown under different temperature and watering regimes to determine effects on establishment and growth. Under an optimum growing temperature, reducing water to 50 per cent and 25 per cent of the optimal irrigation regime significantly decreased the growth of juniper saplings. In field studies, saplings re-introduced to three different altitudinal locations showed varying rates in establishment success and growth. Both two-yearold and five-year-old saplings established better at higher altitude. Overall, survival rates were considerably better with the transplantation of five-year-old rather than two-year-old saplings.
Applying irrigation improved the survival of two-year-old stock when grown at the lowest altitude, but rates were not always significantly different from other treatments. Apical extension growth was found to be reduced at higher altitude, indicating that temperature influences the growth of juniper saplings. However, it was the combination of drought and high temperatures that reduced the growth of non-irrigated saplings at lower altitudes. These preliminary results suggest there is potential to artificially re-introduce juniper saplings to their natural habitat as part of a conservation programme, but more time is required to judge the success of the transplanting initiative when dealing with slow-growing trees such as juniper.

Author Biographies

Khalid Al Farsi, Department of Landscape University of Sheffield

PhD Student

James Hitchmough, Department of Landscape University of Sheffield

Head of Department

Darach Lupton, Oman Botanic Garden

Senior Horticulturist


ALBRECHT, M.A. & MASCHINSKI, J. (2012). Influence of founder population size, propagule stages, and life history on the survival of reintroduced plant populations. In: MASCHINSKI, J. & HASKINS, K.E. (eds), Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 171–188.

AL HADDABI, L. & VICTOR, R. (2016). The ecological status of juniper woodlands in Al Jabal Al Akhdar, northern mountains of Oman. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 73(5), 746–759.

AL-KALBANI, M.S., JOHN, C. & MARTIN, F. (2015). Recent trends in temperature and precipitation in Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Sultanate of Oman, and the implications for future climate change. Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change, 6(8), Available online:

ALLEN, C.D., MACALADY, A.K., CHENCHOUNI, H., BACHELET, D., MCDOWELL, N., VENNETIER, M., KITZBERGER, T., RIGLING, A., BRESHEARS, D.D., HOGG, E.H., GONZALEZ, P., FENSHAM, R., ZHANGM, Z., CASTRO, J., DEMIDOVA, N., LIM, J.H., ALLARD, G., RUNNING, S.W., SEMERCI, A. & COBB, N. (2010). A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(4), 660–684.

ALRABABAH, M., BANI-HANI, M., ALHAMAD, M. & BATAINEH, M. (2008). Boosting seedling survival and growth under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions: Selecting appropriate species under rainfed and wastewater irrigation. Journal of Arid Environments, 72(9), 1606–1612.

ALSARMI, S. & WASHINGTON, R. (2011). Recent observed climate change over the Arabian Peninsula. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 116(D11), Available online:

BORGHETTI, M., CINNIRELLA, S., MAGNANI, F. & SARACINO, A. (1998). Impact of long-term drought on xylem embolism and growth in Pinus halepensis Mill. Trees, 12(4), 187–195.

CLARK, L., GOWING, D., LARK, R., LEEDS-HARRISON, P., MILLER, A., WELLS, D., WHALLEY, W. & WHITMORE, A. (2005). Sensing the physical and nutritional status of the root environment in the field: a review of progress and opportunities. Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge, 143(5), 347–358.

DALRYMPLE, S.E., STEWART, G.B. & PULLIN, A.S. (2011). Are (re-)introductions an effective way of mitigating against plant extinction? CEE review 07-008 (SR32). Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. Available online: (accessed July 2016).

FISHER, M. & GARDNER, A.S. (1995). The status and ecology of Juniperus excelsa subsp. polycarpos woodland in the northern mountains of Oman. Vegetatio, 119, 33–51.

GARDNER, A.S. & FISHER, M. (1996). The distribution and status of the montane juniper woodlands of Oman. Journal of Biogeography, 23(6), 791–803.

GHAZANFAR, S.A. (1991). Vegetation structure and phytogeography of Jabal Shams, an arid mountain in Oman. Journal of Biogeography, 18(3), 299–309.

GIMENO, T.E., CAMARERO, J.J., GRANDA, E., PÍAS, B. & VALLADARES, F. (2012). Enhanced growth of Juniperus thurifera under a warmer climate is explained by a positive carbon gain under cold and drought. Tree Physiology, 32(3), 326–336.

GODEFROID, S., PIAZZA, C., ROSSI, G., BUORD, S., STEVENS, A.D., AGURAIUJA, R., COWELL, C., WEEKLEY, C.W., VOGG, G., IRIONDO, J.M., JOHNSON, I., DIXON, B., GORDON, D., MAGNANON, S., VALENTIN, B., BJUREKE, K., KOOPMAN, R., VICENS, M., VIREVAIRE, M. & VANDERBORGHT, T. (2011). How successful are plant species reintroductions? Biological Conservation, 144(2), 672–682.

LIPIEC, J., DOUSSAN, C., NOSALEWICZ, A. & KONDRACKA, K. (2013). Effect of drought and heat stresses on plant growth and yield: a review. International Agrophysics, 27(4), 463–477.

MACLAREN, C.A. (2016). Climate change drives decline of Juniperus seravschanica in Oman. Journal of Arid Environments, 128, 91–100.

MASCHINSKI, J., ALBRECHT, M.A., MONKS, L. & HASKINS, K.E. (2012). Center for plant conservation best reintroduction practice guidelines. In: MASCHINSKI, J. & HASKINS, K.E. (eds), Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 277–306.

MATWANI, D. (2011). People and plants: the story of Juniperus woodland in Hayl Al Juwari. MSc thesis, Imperial College, London.

MAUNDER, M. (1992). Plant reintroduction: an overview. Biodiversity & Conservation, 1(1), 51–61.

MCDOWELL, N.G., RYAN, M.G., ZEPPEL, M.J. & TISSUE, D.T. (2013). Feature: Improving our knowledge of drought-induced forest mortality through experiments, observations, and modeling. New Phytologist, 200(2), 289–293.

MCNAUGHTON, S.J. (1989). Ecosystem and conservation in the twenty-first century. In: WESTERN, D. & PEARL, M. (eds) Conservation for the Twenty-first Century. Oxford University Press, New York.

MENGES, E.S. (2008). Turner Review No. 16. Restoration demography and genetics of plants: when is a translocation successful? Australian Journal of Botany, 56(3), 187–196.

SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Science) (2012). IBM Statistics for Windows, version 21.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

SWIDRAK, I., GRUBER, A., KOFLER, W. & OBERHUBER, W. (2011). Effects of environmental conditions on onset of xylem growth in Pinus sylvestris under drought. Tree Physiology, 31(5), 483–493.

TABARI, M. & SHIRZAD, M.A. (2012). Growth characteristics of rainfed/irrigated Juniperus excelsa planted in an arid area at North-Eastern Iran. In: LEE, T.S. (ed.), Water Quality, Soil and Managing Irrigation of Crops. Intech, pp. 161–168. Available online: irrigated-juniperus-excelsa-planted-in-an-arid-area-at-north-east. (accessed July 2016).

WANG, W., VINOCUR, B. & ALTMAN, A. (2003). Plant responses to drought, salinity and extreme temperatures: towards genetic engineering for stress tolerance. Planta, 218, 1–14.

WEAVER, J. & JURENA, P. (2009). Response of newly established Juniperus ashei and Carex planostachys plants to barrier-induced water restriction in surface soil. Journal of Arid Environments, 73(3), 267–272.

WILLIAMS, L.J. & ABDI, H. (2010). Fisher’s least significant difference (LSD) test.

Encyclopedia of Research Design. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

ZHAO, J., HARTMANN, H., TRUMBORE, S., ZIEGLER, W. & ZHANG, Y. (2013). High temperature causes negative whole-plant carbon balance under mild drought. New Phytologist, 200(2), 330–339.




How to Cite

Al Farsi, K., Cameron, R., Hitchmough, J., & Lupton, D. (2017). Assessing the Effects of Drought and Temperature on the Establishment of Juniperus seravschanica Saplings in Northern Oman. Sibbaldia: The International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, (14), 37–53.