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Drought Differentially Affects Growth, Transpiration, and Water Use Efficiency of Mixed and Monospecific Planted Forests

1
Forest GEO, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Av. Roosevelt 401, Balboa, Ancón, Panama City 0843-03092, Panama
2
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 06853, USA
3
Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(2), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020153
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 11 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Cycling and Drought Responses of Forest Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Drought conditions may have differential impacts on growth, transpiration, and water use efficiency (WUE) in mixed species and monospecific planted forests. Understanding the resistance (i.e., the capacity to maintain processes unchanged) of different tree species to drought, and how resistance is affected by complementary interactions within species mixtures, is particularly important in the seasonally dry tropics where projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought threaten tree planting efforts and water resources. Complementary interactions between species may lead to more resistant stands if complementarity leads to greater buffering capacity during drought. We examined growth, transpiration, and WUE of mixtures and monocultures of Terminalia amazonia (J.F. Gmel.) Exell and Dalbergia retusa Hemsl. before and during a prolonged drought using intensive measurements of tree sap flow and growth. Tree sapwood area growth was highest for T. amazonia in mixtures during normal (6.78 ± 4.08 mm2 yr−1) and drought (7.12 ± 4.85 mm2 yr−1) conditions compared to the other treatments. However, stand sapwood area growth was greatest for T. amazonia monocultures, followed by mixtures, and finally, D. retusa monocultures. There was a significant decrease in stand transpiration during drought for both mixtures and T. amazonia monocultures, while Dalbergia retusa monocultures were most water use efficient at both the tree and stand level. Treatments showed different levels of resistance to drought, with D. retusa monocultures being the most resistant, with non-significant changes of growth and transpiration before and during drought. Combining species with complementary traits and avoiding combinations where one species dominates the other, may maximize complementary interactions and reduce competitive interactions, leading to greater resistance to drought conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Agua Salud; complementarity; drought; El Niño; planted forests; productivity; transpiration Agua Salud; complementarity; drought; El Niño; planted forests; productivity; transpiration
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Sinacore, K.; Asbjornsen, H.; Hernandez-Santana, V.; Hall, J.S. Drought Differentially Affects Growth, Transpiration, and Water Use Efficiency of Mixed and Monospecific Planted Forests. Forests 2019, 10, 153.

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