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Forests 2018, 9(7), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070414

Recent Drought-Induced Vitality Decline of Black Pine (Pinus nigra Arn.) in South-West Hungary—Is This Drought-Resistant Species under Threat by Climate Change?

1
Department of Ecology and Forest Management, Forest Research Institute, 9600 Sárvár, Hungary
2
Faculty of Forestry, University of Sopron, 9400 Sopron, Hungary
3
Bakonyerdő Ltd., 8500 Pápa, Hungary
4
Faculty of Geo-Information Sciences and Earth Observation, University of Twente, 7522 Enschede, The Netherlands
5
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Szent István University, 2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remotely Sensing of Drought-Induced Forest Change and Recovery)
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Abstract

This paper analyses the recent recurring dieback and growth decline of Black pine (P. nigra Arn. var austriaca) in the Keszthely mountains of south-west Hungary, and their relations to water deficits due to droughts. These relations were studied in five stands with low soil water storage capacity for the period 1981–2016. The vitality was assessed using 60 tree-ring samples and changes in remotely sensed vegetation activity indices, i.e., the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the normalized difference infrared index (NDII). Water deficit was estimated by using meteorological drought indices such the standardized precipitation–evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and the forestry aridity index (FAI), as well as the relative extractable water (REW), calculated by the Brook90 hydrological model. Results revealed a strong dependency of annual tree ring width on the amount of water deficit as measured by all the above estimators, with the highest correlation shown by the summer REW. Droughts also showed a long-term superimposed effect on tree growth. NDII seemed to be more sensitive to drought conditions than NDVI. The robust dependency of tree growth on the summer water availability combined with the projected increasing aridity might lead to decreasing growth of Black pine in Hungary towards the end of the century. We thus argue that the suggestion by several papers that Black pine can be a possible substitute species in the Alpine and Mediterranean region in the future should be revisited. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; P. nigra; tree rings; NDVI; NDII; soil water balance modelling; relative extractable water drought; P. nigra; tree rings; NDVI; NDII; soil water balance modelling; relative extractable water
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Móricz, N.; Garamszegi, B.; Rasztovits, E.; Bidló, A.; Horváth, A.; Jagicza, A.; Illés, G.; Vekerdy, Z.; Somogyi, Z.; Gálos, B. Recent Drought-Induced Vitality Decline of Black Pine (Pinus nigra Arn.) in South-West Hungary—Is This Drought-Resistant Species under Threat by Climate Change? Forests 2018, 9, 414.

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