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Article

Disentangling Mechanisms of Drought-Induced Dieback in Pinus nigra Arn. from Growth and Wood Isotope Patterns

Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), 50192 Zaragoza, Spain
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Forests 2020, 11(12), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121339
Received: 19 November 2020 / Revised: 13 December 2020 / Accepted: 14 December 2020 / Published: 16 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radial-Growth and Wood Anatomical Responses to Climate Change)
The increased frequency and intensity of warming-induced droughts have triggered dieback episodes affecting many forest types and tree species worldwide. Tree plantations are not exempt as they can be more vulnerable to drought than natural forests because of their lower structural and genetic diversity. Therefore, disentangling the physiological mechanisms leading to growth decline and tree mortality can provide tools to adapt forest management to climate change. In this study, we investigated a Pinus nigra Arn. plantation situated in northern Spain, in which some trees showed canopy dieback and radial-growth decline. We analyzed how radial growth and its responses to drought events differed between non-declining (ND) and declining (D) trees showing low and high canopy defoliation, respectively, in combination with carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope ratios in tree rings. The radial growth of P. nigra was constrained by water availability during the growing season and the previous autumn. The radial growth of D trees showed higher sensitivity to drought than ND trees. This fact is in accordance with the lower drought resilience and negative growth trends observed in D trees. Both tree classes differed in their growth from 2012 onwards, with D trees showing a reduced growth compared to ND trees. The positive δ13C-δ18O relationship together with the uncoupling between growth and intrinsic water-use efficiency suggest that D trees have less tight stomatal regulation than ND trees, which could involve a high risk of xylem embolism in the former class. Our results suggest that different water use strategies between coexisting ND and D trees were behind the differences in growth patterns and point to hydraulic failure as a possible mechanism triggering dieback and growth decline. View Full-Text
Keywords: basal area increment; carbon isotopes; drought; growth decline; intrinsic water-use efficiency; oxygen isotopes; resilience; tree plantation basal area increment; carbon isotopes; drought; growth decline; intrinsic water-use efficiency; oxygen isotopes; resilience; tree plantation
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MDPI and ACS Style

González de Andrés, E.; Camarero, J.J. Disentangling Mechanisms of Drought-Induced Dieback in Pinus nigra Arn. from Growth and Wood Isotope Patterns. Forests 2020, 11, 1339. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121339

AMA Style

González de Andrés E, Camarero JJ. Disentangling Mechanisms of Drought-Induced Dieback in Pinus nigra Arn. from Growth and Wood Isotope Patterns. Forests. 2020; 11(12):1339. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121339

Chicago/Turabian Style

González de Andrés, Ester, and Jesús Julio Camarero. 2020. "Disentangling Mechanisms of Drought-Induced Dieback in Pinus nigra Arn. from Growth and Wood Isotope Patterns" Forests 11, no. 12: 1339. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121339

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