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Drought Superimposes the Positive Effect of Silver Fir on Water Relations of European Beech in Mature Forest Stands

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Institute of Forest Sciences, Chair of Tree Physiology, University of Freiburg, Georges-Koehler-Allee 53/54, 79110 Freiburg, Germany
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Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
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Urban Ecosystem Science, School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
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Center of Molecular Ecophysiology (CMEP), College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University No. 2, Tiansheng Road, Beibei district, Chongqing 400715, China
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College of Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(10), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100897
Received: 9 September 2019 / Revised: 9 October 2019 / Accepted: 9 October 2019 / Published: 11 October 2019
Research Highlights: Investigations of evapotranspiration in a mature mixed beech-fir forest stand do not indicate higher resilience towards intensified drying-wetting cycles as compared with pure beech stands. Background and Objectives: Forest management seeks to implement adaptive measures, for example, the introduction of more drought resistant species into prevailing monospecific stands to minimize forest mortality and monetary losses. In Central Europe this includes the introduction of native silver fir (Abies alba) into monospecific beech (Fagus sylvatica) stands. In order to determine, if the introduction of fir would improve the resilience against drier conditions, this study investigates water relations of a mature pure beech and a mature mixed beech-fir stand under natural as well as reduced water availability. Materials and Methods: Sap flow rates and densities were measured in two consecutive years using the heat ratio method and scaled using stand inventory data and modeling. Results: Transpiration rates estimated from sap flow were significantly higher for beech trees as compared with silver fir which was attributed to the more anisohydric water-use strategy of the beech trees. We estimate that stand evapotranspiration was slightly higher for mixed stands due to higher interception losses from the mixed stand during times of above average water supply. When precipitation was restricted, beech was not able to support its transpiration demands, and therefore there was reduced sap flow rates in the mixed, as well as in the pure stand, whereas transpiration of fir was largely unaffected, likely due to its more isohydric behavior toward water use and access to moister soil layers. Thus, we found the rates of evapotranspiration in the mixed beech-fir stand to be smaller during times with no precipitation as compared with the pure beech stand, which was accountable to the severely reduced transpiration of beech in the mixed stand. Conclusions: We conclude that smaller evapotranspiration rates in the mixed beech-fir stand might not be the result of increased water use efficiency but rather caused by restricted hydraulic conductivity of the root system of beech, making mixed beech-fir stands at this site less resilient towards drought. View Full-Text
Keywords: mixed temperate forest; European beech; silver fir; sap flow; transpiration; evaporation; drying-wetting cycle mixed temperate forest; European beech; silver fir; sap flow; transpiration; evaporation; drying-wetting cycle
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MDPI and ACS Style

Magh, R.-K.; Bonn, B.; Grote, R.; Burzlaff, T.; Pfautsch, S.; Rennenberg, H. Drought Superimposes the Positive Effect of Silver Fir on Water Relations of European Beech in Mature Forest Stands. Forests 2019, 10, 897. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100897

AMA Style

Magh R-K, Bonn B, Grote R, Burzlaff T, Pfautsch S, Rennenberg H. Drought Superimposes the Positive Effect of Silver Fir on Water Relations of European Beech in Mature Forest Stands. Forests. 2019; 10(10):897. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100897

Chicago/Turabian Style

Magh, Ruth-Kristina, Boris Bonn, Rüdiger Grote, Tim Burzlaff, Sebastian Pfautsch, and Heinz Rennenberg. 2019. "Drought Superimposes the Positive Effect of Silver Fir on Water Relations of European Beech in Mature Forest Stands" Forests 10, no. 10: 897. https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100897

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