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Special Issue "Responses of Forest Trees to Drought"

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A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Steven Jansen (Website)

Institute for Systematic Botany and Ecology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
Interests: functional wood anatomy and plant morphology, drought- induced tree mortality, topical plant diversity and ecology, aluminum accumulation and heavy metal uptake in plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change poses a serious risk to our forests and the ecosystem services they provide to society. Increased drought stress, in particular, is likely to be a key element driving climate effects on forests, even in places not currently limited by water availability. Expected changes in forest composition and function may be mediated by (1) direct effects of extreme levels of drought on tree species, (2) indirect effects through the interaction of other climate-related disturbances (e.g., wildfires, pathogens, forest pests), (3) the progressive mismatch between the ecological niche of tree species and their current distribution due to increased and more intense drought events, and (4) the interaction with ongoing changes in forest management and land use due to new social scenarios demanding different uses and services from forests. With this special issue of the journal Forests, special attention will be given to vulnerability of tree species to drought, both at the tree level and the resilience mechanisms at the forest population and community levels.

Prof. Dr. Steven Jansen
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • drought stress
  • climate change
  • forest vulnerability and resilience
  • forest and tree mortality
  • drought-related forest disturbances (including wildfires, native or introduced forest pests, pathogens)

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Comparative Drought Responses of Quercus ilex L. and Pinus sylvestris L. in a Montane Forest Undergoing a Vegetation Shift
Forests 2015, 6(8), 2505-2529; doi:10.3390/f6082505
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 27 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (41078 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Different functional and structural strategies to cope with water shortage exist both within and across plant communities. The current trend towards increasing drought in many regions could drive some species to their physiological limits of drought tolerance, potentially leading to mortality episodes [...] Read more.
Different functional and structural strategies to cope with water shortage exist both within and across plant communities. The current trend towards increasing drought in many regions could drive some species to their physiological limits of drought tolerance, potentially leading to mortality episodes and vegetation shifts. In this paper, we study the drought responses of Quercus ilex and Pinus sylvestris in a montane Mediterranean forest where the former species is replacing the latter in association with recent episodes of drought-induced mortality. Our aim was to compare the physiological responses to variations in soil water content (SWC) and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) of the two species when living together in a mixed stand or separately in pure stands, where the canopies of both species are completely exposed to high radiation and VPD. P. sylvestris showed typical isohydric behavior, with greater losses of stomatal conductance with declining SWC and greater reductions of stored non-structural carbohydrates during drought, consistent with carbon starvation being an important factor in the mortality of this species. On the other hand, Q. ilex trees showed a more anisohydric behavior, experiencing more negative water potentials and higher levels of xylem embolism under extreme drought, presumably putting them at higher risk of hydraulic failure. In addition, our results show relatively small changes in the physiological responses of Q. ilex in mixed vs. pure stands, suggesting that the current replacement of P. sylvestris by Q. ilex will continue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle Adaptation of Leaf Water Relations to Climatic and Habitat Water Availability
Forests 2015, 6(7), 2281-2295; doi:10.3390/f6072281
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 4 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
PDF Full-text (32461 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Successful management of forest systems requires a deeper understanding of the role of ecophysiological traits in enabling adaptation to high temperature and water deficit under current and anticipated changes in climate. A key attribute of leaf water relations is the water potential [...] Read more.
Successful management of forest systems requires a deeper understanding of the role of ecophysiological traits in enabling adaptation to high temperature and water deficit under current and anticipated changes in climate. A key attribute of leaf water relations is the water potential at zero turgor (πtlp), because it defines the operating water potentials over which plants actively control growth and gas exchange. This study examines the drivers of variation in πtlp with respect to species climate of origin and habitat water availability. We compiled a water relations database for 174 woody species occupying clearly delineated gradients in temperature and precipitation across the Australian continent. A significant proportion of the variability in πtlp (~35%) could be explained by climatic water deficit and its interaction with summertime maximum temperature, demonstrating the strong selective pressure of aridity and high temperature in shaping leaf water relations among Australian species. Habitat water availability (midday leaf water potential), was also a significant predictor of πtlp (R2 = 0.43), highlighting the importance of species ecohydrologic niche under a set of climatic conditions. Shifts in πtlp in response to both climatic and site-based drivers of water availability emphasises its adaptive significance and its suitability as a predictor of plant performance under future climatic change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle Variation of Oriental Oak (Quercus variabilis) Leaf δ13C across Temperate and Subtropical China: Spatial Patterns and Sensitivity to Precipitation
Forests 2015, 6(7), 2296-2306; doi:10.3390/f6072296
Received: 24 March 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (413 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The concentration of the carbon-13 isotope (leaf δ13C) in leaves is negatively correlated with the mean annual precipitation (MAP) atlarge geographical scales. In this paper, we explain the spatial pattern of leaf δ13C variation for deciduous oriental oak [...] Read more.
The concentration of the carbon-13 isotope (leaf δ13C) in leaves is negatively correlated with the mean annual precipitation (MAP) atlarge geographical scales. In this paper, we explain the spatial pattern of leaf δ13C variation for deciduous oriental oak (Quercus variabilis Bl.) across temperate and subtropical biomes and its sensitivity to climate factors such as MAP. There was a 6‰ variation in the leaf δ13C values of oak with a significant positive correlation with latitude and negative correlations with the mean annual temperature (MAT) and MAP. There was no correlation between leaf δ13C and altitude or longitude. Stepwise multiple regression analyses showed that leaf δ13C decreased 0.3‰ per 100 mm increase in MAP. MAP alone could account for 68% of the observed variation in leaf δ13C. These results can be used to improve predictions for plant responses to climate change and particularly lower rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle Regulation of Water Use in the Southernmost European Fir (Abies pinsapo Boiss.): Drought Avoidance Matters
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2241-2260; doi:10.3390/f6062241
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
PDF Full-text (1461 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The current scenario of global warming has resulted in considerable uncertainty regarding the capacity of forest trees to adapt to increasing drought. Detailed ecophysiological knowledge would provide a basis to forecast expected species dynamics in response to climate change. Here, we compare [...] Read more.
The current scenario of global warming has resulted in considerable uncertainty regarding the capacity of forest trees to adapt to increasing drought. Detailed ecophysiological knowledge would provide a basis to forecast expected species dynamics in response to climate change. Here, we compare the water balance (stomatal conductance, xylem water potential, needle osmotic adjustment) of Abies pinsapo, a relict drought-sensitive Mediterranean fir, along an altitudinal gradient. We related these variables to soil water and nutrient availability, air temperature, atmospheric water potential, and vapour pressure deficit during two consecutive years. Our results indicate that A. pinsapo closed stomata rapidly over a very narrow range of soil water availability and atmospheric dryness. This isohydric response during water stress suggests that this relict conifer relied on the plant hormone abscisic acid to maintain closed stomata during sustained drought, instead of needle desiccation to passively drive stomatal closure, needle osmotic adjustment or a plastic response of the xylem to different levels of water availability. Both the soil and foliar nutrient contents suggest that the studied populations are not limited by nutrient deficiencies, and drought was stronger in the warmer low-elevation areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle Modeling of Two Different Water Uptake Approaches for Mono- and Mixed-Species Forest Stands
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2125-2147; doi:10.3390/f6062125
Received: 27 March 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 12 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7117 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
To assess how the effects of drought could be better captured in process-based models, this study simulated and contrasted two water uptake approaches in Scots pine and Scots pine-Sessile oak stands. The first approach consisted of an empirical function for root water [...] Read more.
To assess how the effects of drought could be better captured in process-based models, this study simulated and contrasted two water uptake approaches in Scots pine and Scots pine-Sessile oak stands. The first approach consisted of an empirical function for root water uptake (WU1). The second approach was based on differences of soil water potential along a soil-plant-atmosphere continuum (WU2) with total root resistance varying at low, medium and high total root resistance levels. Three data sets on different time scales relevant for tree growth were used for model evaluation: Two short-term datasets on daily transpiration and soil water content as well as a long-term dataset on annual tree ring increments. Except WU2 with high total root resistance, all transpiration outputs exceeded observed values. The strongest correlation between simulated and observed annual tree ring width occurred with WU2 and high total root resistance. The findings highlighted the importance of severe drought as a main reason for small diameter increment. However, if all three data sets were taken into account, no approach was superior to the other. We conclude that accurate projections of future forest productivity depend largely on the realistic representation of root water uptake in forest model simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessCommunication Early Differential Responses of Co-dominant Canopy Species to Sudden and Severe Drought in a Mediterranean-climate Type Forest
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2082-2091; doi:10.3390/f6062082
Received: 7 April 2015 / Revised: 28 May 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Globally, drought and heat-induced forest disturbance is garnering increasing concern. Species from Mediterranean forests have resistance and resilience mechanisms to cope with drought and differences in these ecological strategies will profoundly influence vegetation composition in response to drought. Our aim was to [...] Read more.
Globally, drought and heat-induced forest disturbance is garnering increasing concern. Species from Mediterranean forests have resistance and resilience mechanisms to cope with drought and differences in these ecological strategies will profoundly influence vegetation composition in response to drought. Our aim was to contrast the early response of two co-occurring forest species, Eucalyptus marginata and Corymbia calophylla, in the Northern Jarrah Forest of southwestern Australia, following a sudden and severe drought event. Forest plots were monitored for health and response, three and 16 months following the drought. Eucalyptus marginata was more susceptible to partial and complete crown dieback compared to C. calophylla, three months after the drought. However, resprouting among trees exhibiting complete crown dieback was similar between species. Overall, E. marginata trees were more likely to die from the impacts of drought, assessed at 16 months. These short-term differential responses to drought may lead to compositional shifts with increases in frequency of drought events in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle How do Light and Water Acquisition Strategies Affect Species Selection during Secondary Succession in Moist Tropical Forests?
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2047-2065; doi:10.3390/f6062047
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 18 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 June 2015 / Published: 8 June 2015
PDF Full-text (5659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pioneer tree species have acquisitive leaf characteristics associated with high demand of light and water, and are expected to be shade and drought intolerant. Using leaf functional traits (specific leaf area, photosynthetic rate, relative water content and stomatal conductance) and tree performance [...] Read more.
Pioneer tree species have acquisitive leaf characteristics associated with high demand of light and water, and are expected to be shade and drought intolerant. Using leaf functional traits (specific leaf area, photosynthetic rate, relative water content and stomatal conductance) and tree performance (mortality rate) in the field, we assessed how shade and drought tolerance of leaves are related to the species’ positions along a successional gradient in moist tropical forest in Chiapas, Mexico. We quantified morphological and physiological leaf shade and drought tolerance indicators for 25 dominant species that characterize different successional stages. We found that light demand decreases with succession, confirming the importance of light availability for species filtering during early stages of succession. In addition, water transport levels in the leaves decreased with succession, but high water transport did not increase the leaf’s vulnerability to drought. In fact, late successional species showed higher mortality in dry years than early successional ones, against suggestions from leaf drought tolerance traits. It is likely that pioneer species have other drought-avoiding strategies, like deep rooting systems and water storage in roots and stems. More research on belowground plant physiology is needed to understand how plants adapt to changing environments, which is crucial to anticipate the effects of climate change on secondary forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)
Open AccessArticle Timing of Drought Triggers Distinct Growth Responses in Holm Oak: Implications to Predict Warming-Induced Forest Defoliation and Growth Decline
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1576-1597; doi:10.3390/f6051576
Received: 10 March 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (43453 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Droughts negatively impact forests by reducing growth and increasing defoliation leading to forest dieback as the climate becomes warmer and drier. However, the timing and severity of droughts determine how differently or intensively water shortage affects primary (shoot and leaf formation) and [...] Read more.
Droughts negatively impact forests by reducing growth and increasing defoliation leading to forest dieback as the climate becomes warmer and drier. However, the timing and severity of droughts determine how differently or intensively water shortage affects primary (shoot and leaf formation) and secondary growth (stem radial growth based on tree-ring widths). We compare the impact of two severe droughts (2005, 2012), showing different climatic characteristics on the growth responses of three Mediterranean holm oak stands in northeastern Spain. We also quantify climate trends and drought severity. Then, we use remote sensing data to infer how those droughts impacted forest productivity. Both droughts were characterized by warm and dry spring conditions leading to reduced budburst, low shoot production, asynchrony in primary growth and decreased productivity and scarce radial growth, particularly in 2005. However, defoliation peaked in 2012 when radial growth showed minimum values and early spring and late summer temperatures reached maximum values. We discuss how uncoupled and resilient are the responses of primary and secondary growth to drought. Finally, these findings are used to gain insight into the drought-related drivers of defoliation in Spanish holm oak forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Are Mixed Tropical Tree Plantations More Resistant to Drought than Monocultures?
Forests 2015, 6(6), 2029-2046; doi:10.3390/f6062029
Received: 25 March 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 5 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tropical tree plantations usually consist of a single exotic fast growing species, but recent research describes positive effects on ecosystem functions from mixed tropical tree plantations. In this review, we present the current knowledge of drought resistance of tropical mixed species plantations [...] Read more.
Tropical tree plantations usually consist of a single exotic fast growing species, but recent research describes positive effects on ecosystem functions from mixed tropical tree plantations. In this review, we present the current knowledge of drought resistance of tropical mixed species plantations and summarize preliminary evidence from a tree biodiversity experiment in Panama. Converting mono-specific stands into mixed ones may improve stand stability and might reduce increasing abiotic and biotic disturbances due to climate change. However, little is known about the extent to which tropical tree species or tropical tree communities can resist increasing disturbances in the short term, e.g., water limitations due to increasing dry season intensity or length, or about their resilience after such disturbances and their capacity to adapt to changing conditions in the long term. Studies relating drought resistance and resilience to community diversity are missing. Further, we highlight the urgent need for a multifactorial manipulative throughfall reduction experiment in tropical environments. The outcome of such studies would greatly assist the forestry sector in tropical regions to maintain highly productive and ecologically sound forest plantations in a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Responses of Forest Trees to Drought)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Continued Changes in Tree Populations in Northern Arizona Mixed - conifer and Ponderosa Pine Forest in the Decade Following a Climate - Related Mortality Pulse
Author
: Joseph Ganey
Abstract
: Recent studies documented climate-mediated tree mortality in forests and woodlands throughout the southwestern U. S. Mortality occurred rapidly during and immediately following an extreme climate year in 2002 and was non - random with respect to tree species. We sampled trees in northern Arizona mixed - conifer and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in 2004 and 2014, to see if these changes continued in subsequent years. Tree density did not differ significantly between 2004 and 2014 in either forest type, and basal area increased significantly in ponderosa pine forest. Spatial variation in extent of change in tree density and basal area among sample plots was high. Percent change in basal area was negatively associated with 2004 basal area in mixed - conifer forest and positively associated with elevation in ponderosa pine forest. Basal area increased in some species whereas other species, especially quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and white fir (Abies concolor), showed large proportional decreases. Our results suggest a degree of short-term resilience in these forest types. Study duration was short relative to forest ecology and climate cycles, however, and considerable uncertainty remains regarding long - term, climate - related trends in these forest types.

Type of Paper: Article
Title:
Species Selection and Its Dependency on the Ecological Niche
Authors:
Tanja Sanders, Thomas Riedel, Wolfgang Beck
Affiliations:
Thünen-Institut für Waldökosysteme, Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems, Eberswalde, Germany
Abstract:
Bioclimatic envelop (BE) models are a convenient tool for scientist and politicians alike: they provide an easy to understand message about the future distribution of species. Hung up on the readily available parameters temperature and precipitation large areas can be classified depending on their suitability for certain species BE can be defined as the climatic component of the fundamental ecological niche, or the ‘climatic niche’ (Pearson & Dawson 2003). Lacking, however, are a minimum of two factors 1) climate is not the only determent for species distribution and 2) species undergo adaptive processes (for general critics cf.: Pearson & Dawson 2003, Dormann 2007, Huntley et al. 2010, Araújo & Townsend Peterson 2012). Four major limitations of BE models may be identified regarding the model assumptions: (1) species distribution ranges are determined only be climate variables, (2) there is an equilibrium between the realized species range and the its potential range determined by the climate, (3) species lack the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and (4) species interactions (e.g. competitive interactions) remain constant in future. A dual approach enables us to address two of these challenges: (1) calculation of species distribution based on the mean available water capacity between 1961-90 based on the national forest inventory data (BWI) in Germany and two future scenarios; and (2) quantification of adaptive capacity for Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies at selected sites using dendrochronological methods. Using available water capacity as a proxy to determine future species ditribution certain areas become apparent which would be classed as to dry or wet under the current point of adaption, respectivly. However, using dendroecological methods we can quantify the potential in adaptation and acclimatisation to add as potential new ranges for certain species.


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