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Forests 2016, 7(12), 298; doi:10.3390/f7120298

Drought Stress Distribution Responses of Continental Beech Forests at their Xeric Edge in Central Europe

1
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Pécs, Ifjúság útja, 6, 7624 Pécs, Hungary
2
Radnóti Miklós Economic Secondary School, Esztergár Lajos utca, 6, 7633 Pécs, Hungary
3
Department of Informatics and Biorobotics, University of Pécs, Ifjúság útja, 6, 7624 Pécs, Hungary
4
Department of Botany and Nature Conservation, University of West Hungary, Bajcsy Zsilinszky út, 4, 9400 Sopron, Hungary
5
Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Alkotmány utca, 2-4, 2163 Vácrátót, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jesus Julio Camarero, Raúl Sánchez-Salguero and Juan Carlos Linares
Received: 16 September 2016 / Revised: 21 November 2016 / Accepted: 22 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Growth Response to Environmental Stress)
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Abstract

In order to develop adequate adaptation measures for environmental vulnerability, we need detailed knowledge on the climatic performance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we aim to explore climate function variability of lowland beech forest distribution at a landscape scale. We also construct the response profiles of these forests near their xeric limit under wet continental climatic conditions. We studied distribution responses using presence-absence forest records and 18 bioclimatic variables. We performed exploratory factor analysis and frequency estimation to evaluate climate function distribution responses. We found that temperature adjusted precipitation measures during summer were the most important, followed by winter rainfall indices. The relative Drought Response Range (rDRR) in the response profile presented the climate limitation function of the distribution. According to our results, higher level of climate function variability is associated with lower level of rDRR, presenting an ecological trade-off. Our results suggest that distribution functions of the rDRR, especially the Ombrothermic index, can be used as landscape indicators of drought stress. Consequently, rDRR could be a useful measure to assess regional climatic vulnerability of forest occurrence and distribution patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: lowland beech forests; bioclimatic variables; exploratory factor analysis; climate response profile; drought stress estimation lowland beech forests; bioclimatic variables; exploratory factor analysis; climate response profile; drought stress estimation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Salamon-Albert, É.; Lőrincz, P.; Pauler, G.; Bartha, D.; Horváth, F. Drought Stress Distribution Responses of Continental Beech Forests at their Xeric Edge in Central Europe. Forests 2016, 7, 298.

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