Analysing Atmospheric Processes and Climatic Drivers of Tree Defoliation to Determine Forest Vulnerability to Climate Warming
AbstractCrown defoliation is extensively monitored across European forests within the International Co-operative Programme (ICP) as a proxy of forest health. Climate warming and drought are assumed to be the major drivers of tree growth and crown defoliation, particularly in seasonally dry areas such as the Mediterranean Basin. Here we analyse how climate, drought, and atmospheric processes are related to defoliation time series of five oak and five pine species that are dominant across Spanish ICP monitoring forest plots. We found that warmer and drier conditions during April were linked to enhanced defoliation. Warm April conditions were also related to high values of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), thereby indicating large-scale links between atmospheric processes, temperature, and defoliation patterns. The temperature-defoliation association was species-specific since some tree species from wet sites showed a weak association (e.g., Quercus robur L.) whereas others from dry sites (e.g., Quercus ilex L.) presented the strongest associations. The latter tree species could be considered vulnerable to heat stress in terms of leaf shedding. We also explored if defoliation was related to radial growth and found negative associations in relatively dry areas. Warmer and drier conditions linked to increasing AMO values are connected to the post-1990s rise of defoliation in Spanish ICP forest plots. Combined incorporation of defoliation and growth into mortality models can provide insights into assessments of forest vulnerability. View Full-Text
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Sánchez-Salguero, R.; Camarero, J.J.; Grau, J.M.; de la Cruz, A.C.; Gil, P.M.; Minaya, M.; Fernández-Cancio, Á. Analysing Atmospheric Processes and Climatic Drivers of Tree Defoliation to Determine Forest Vulnerability to Climate Warming. Forests 2017, 8, 13.
Sánchez-Salguero R, Camarero JJ, Grau JM, de la Cruz AC, Gil PM, Minaya M, Fernández-Cancio Á. Analysing Atmospheric Processes and Climatic Drivers of Tree Defoliation to Determine Forest Vulnerability to Climate Warming. Forests. 2017; 8(1):13.Chicago/Turabian Style
Sánchez-Salguero, Raúl; Camarero, J. J.; Grau, José M.; de la Cruz, Ana C.; Gil, Paula M.; Minaya, Mayte; Fernández-Cancio, Ángel. 2017. "Analysing Atmospheric Processes and Climatic Drivers of Tree Defoliation to Determine Forest Vulnerability to Climate Warming." Forests 8, no. 1: 13.
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