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Forests 2016, 7(3), 71; doi:10.3390/f7030071

The Urban Environment Can Modify Drought Stress of Small-Leaved Lime (Tilia cordata Mill.) and Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.)

1
Forest Growth and Yield Science, School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, Freising 85354, Germany
2
Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Emil-Ramann-Str. 6, Freising 85354, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2859 KB, uploaded 17 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

The urban environment characterized by various stresses poses challenges to trees. In particular, water deficits and high temperatures can cause immense drought stress to urban trees, resulting in reduced growth and die-off. Drought-tolerant species are expected to be resilient to these conditions and are therefore advantageous over other, more susceptible species. However, the drought tolerance of urban trees in relation to the specific growth conditions in urban areas remains poorly researched. This study aimed to analyze the annual growth and drought tolerance of two common urban tree species, namely small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata Mill. (T. cordata)) and black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L. (R. pseudoacacia)), in two cities in southern Germany in relation to their urban growing conditions. Marked growth reductions during drought periods and subsequent fast recovery were found for R. pseudoacacia, whereas T. cordata exhibited continued reduced growth after a drought event, although these results were highly specific to the analyzed city. We further show that individual tree characteristics and environmental conditions significantly influence the growth of urban trees. Canopy openness and other aspects of the surrounding environment (water supply and open surface area of the tree pit), tree size, and tree species significantly affect urban tree growth and can modify the ability of trees to tolerate the drought stress in urban areas. Sustainable tree planting of well adapted tree species to their urban environment ensures healthy trees providing ecosystem services for a high quality of life in cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought tolerance; mixed models; standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index; superposed epoch analysis; urban trees drought tolerance; mixed models; standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index; superposed epoch analysis; urban trees
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Moser, A.; Rötzer, T.; Pauleit, S.; Pretzsch, H. The Urban Environment Can Modify Drought Stress of Small-Leaved Lime (Tilia cordata Mill.) and Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.). Forests 2016, 7, 71.

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