IALC Peace Fellowship Report
24 June - 23 July 1997
Nancy A. Milanesio
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Water Use by Tree and Shrub Forms of Dryland Oaks
Thanks to an International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) Peace Fellowship,
this summer I studied at the Volcani Center, Institute of Soils and Water,
Agricultural Research Organization in Bet-Dagan, Israel. I learned about
the Peace Fellowship from Dr. Evan H. DeLucia. At the time I was working
in his lab on biomass allocation of Pinus ponderosa....This was
an excellent opportunity to expand my research skills as well as open
new possibilities for future studies....
While in Israel I worked under the guidance of Dr. Gabriel Schiller and
at times with Leonid Kohol. Their lab has two main purposes:
- To support the Jewish National Fund in finding better seed sources
for reforestation by analyzing population genetics of different species
and pinpointing specific provinces for the establishment of seed orchards.
- To widen knowledge of water use of different tree species under different
site conditions for better understanding of adaptation to drought and
for development of better management practices.
With Dr. Schiller, I worked on a continuation of the IALC project, "Water
Use by Tree and Shrub Forms of Dryland Oaks." On this project we
looked at transpiration rates of Quercus calliprinos forests before
and after thinning. With this work, Dr. Schiller hopes to increase knowledge
of how water use is maintained by these trees and how they compensate
for secondary trunks. We measured transpiration with the Heat-Pulse method.
Lisandra Mioni, the first Peace Fellow, also worked with this technique.
It involves placing 48-mm probes into the trees being studied. Each probe
is six sensors (8 mm apart) which form six pseudo-rings. A heating device
is then placed 15 mm below the probe. The sensors measure the velocity
of the heat emitted by the heating device. Higher transpiration will be
shown as an increase of water movement in the tree and therefore an increase
in the velocity measured by the sensors.
An unexpected pleasure was to be able to work with Leonid Kohol, a collaborator
of Dr. Schiller's who is examining the genetic make-up of Pinus canariensis
to evaluate its potential usefulness for Israeli forests. These trees
are of special interest because of their fire resistance. In fact, Canary
pines need fire in order to produce seeds; this could help many Israeli
forests survive the devastating effects of frequent fires. I really did
not expect to be working in genetics for a forestation project but became
enthusiastic nevertheless. I was able to use skills I had repeatedly practiced
in biology classes, which was very exciting....
Dr. Schiller's work required that we visit many different regions in
Israel....each time, Dr. Schiller would make a point of exposing me to
cultural experiences. Whether it was recent archaeological finds or the
vineyards at Binyamina, Dr. Schiller would stop and talk about the region,
its people, and their lifestyles....Besides the trips taken with Dr. Schiller,
I had many other opportunities to experience Israeli culture. I quickly
learned that Israel is as diverse as the US, with people from all over
the world wanting to become citizens. The new friends I made were very
curious about my reason for being in Israel and wanted to know more about
the Fellowship. The environment and its importance are of growing concern
to the people of Israel, so many wanted to hear what I had to say....
In future I plan to go to graduate school and study environmental sciences.
Working in Israel has been a turning point in my career decision, because
now I would like to work in a field that has global application....I have
caught the traveler's bug and continue to want to explore new cultures
and bring back what I learn to my friends, family, and anyone else who
is as curious about the world as I am.