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Forests 2016, 7(12), 296; doi:10.3390/f7120296

Increasing Water Use Efficiency Comes at a Cost for Norway Spruce

1
Johann Heinrich von Thuenen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Institute of Forest Ecosystems, Alfred-Moeller-Str. 1, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
2
Institute for Botany and Landscape Ecology, University Greifswald, Grimmer Str. 88, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
3
GFZ, German Research Centre for Geosciences, Department 5, Geoarchives, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
4
Technische Universität Dresden, Institute of Forest Utilization and Forest Technology, Chair of Forest Utilization, Piennerstr. 19, 01735 Tharandt, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 21 November 2016 / Published: 28 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on the Dynamics of Forest Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi) in trees is an indication of the ratio of carbon assimilation to the rate of transpiration. It is generally assumed that it is a response to water availability. In agricultural research, the question of drought tolerance by increased WUEi has been well studied. In general, the increase is a trade-off for productivity and is therefore not desired. For forest trees, this question is less clearly understood. Using stable carbon isotopes derived from tree rings combined with productivity as the product of the annual growth increment and annual density measurements, we compared the change in WUEi over a 15 year period. While WUEi increased over this period, the productivity decreased, causing an opposing trend. The gradient of the correlation between WUEi and productivity varies between provenances and sites. Counterintuitively, the populations at the drier site showed low WUEi values at the beginning of the investigation. Slopes vary with the provenance from Poland showing the least decline in productivity. In general, we found that a decline in productivity aligned with an increase in WUEi. View Full-Text
Keywords: water use efficiency; provenance trial; dendroecology water use efficiency; provenance trial; dendroecology
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Sanders, T.G.M.; Heinrich, I.; Günther, B.; Beck, W. Increasing Water Use Efficiency Comes at a Cost for Norway Spruce. Forests 2016, 7, 296.

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