Open forests of Quercus ithaburensis, Ceratonia siliqua and Pistacia lentiscus
1.3.4 Open forests of Quercus ithaburensis
The Tabor oak is often accompanied by Styrax officinalis, sometimes by Pistacia atlantica, and always by plenty of herbaceous plants (Fig. 1.3.27). Considerable areas supporting oak park-forest (- a technical term for open woodland) are used for grazing cows (Fig. 1.3.28). The few semi-shrubs found in this community, when developed on chalky ground, are mainly Majorana syriaca (but not Sarcopoterium spinosum). This type of forest, which once dominated the Sharon Plain, is now limited there to single, sporadic Tabor oak trees, and one reserve between Haifa and Tel Aviv. Large woodlands of the Tabor oak are found in the Lower Galilee and in the Golan, below 500 m. (Fig. 1.3.30). The Tabor oak woodlands in northwest Jordan (Fig. 1.3.31) are well preserved, covering considerable areas of rocky terrain west of Irbid, at the western escarpments of the Jordanian plateau, from sea level to 500 m. above sea level.
1.3.5 Open forests of Ceratonia siliqua and Pistacia lentiscus
This type of vegetation grows in Terra Rossa soils at the lower elevations of the main mountain ranges, below 300 m. on both sides of the central mountain range; on Rendzina soils at the foothills of the Judean Mountains; and in light soils of the Sharon Plain (the littoral aspect). At higher elevations, such park-forests develop on south-facing slopes which get efficient solar radiation, which makes them drier and warmer than other slopes (Figs. 1.3.32-1.3.36). Generally, this community is more drought- and heat-resistant than the communities dominated by Quercus calliprinos, and it has a similar position in the aridity sequence of communities as those dominated by the Tabor oak. One of this tree’s important companions in rocky sites at Mt. Carmel and the Galilee is the wild olive (Olea europaea var. sylvestris), which resembles the cultivated one but has much smaller fruits, which are dispersed by small birds. In Jordan this category barely exists. However, scattered carob trees occur in the open woodlands of Quercus ithaburensis in the Gilead, mainly in the transition zone from the belt dominated by the Tabor oak to that characterized by Quercus calliprinos, at an elevation of 500-600 m. The main companion of the carob in the southern Judean foothills is Rhamnus lycioides subsp. graecus (Fig. 1.3.37), which totally replaces all the other arboreal components in dry habitats.