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Taxonomy, Ecology and Distribution of Juniperus oxycedrus L. Group in the Mediterranean Basin Using Bioclimatic, Phytochemical and Morphometric Approaches, with Special Reference to the Iberian Peninsula
Article

Dwarf Mistletoe and Drought Contribute to Growth Decline, Dieback and Mortality of Junipers

1
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC), 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
2
EiFAB-iuFOR, University of Valladolid, Campus Duques de Soria, 42004 Soria, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francisco Antonio García-Morote
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091199
Received: 17 July 2021 / Revised: 29 August 2021 / Accepted: 1 September 2021 / Published: 3 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Juniperus Species and Climate Change: Adaptations and Potentialities)
Rising temperatures and aridification, combined with the stressing effect of some hemiparasitic plants such as mistletoes, may contribute to reduce vigour and growth of trees and shrubs leading to dieback and increasing mortality. This has been rarely explored in pioneer shrubs such as junipers, which are assumed to be more drought tolerant than coexisting trees. To test these ideas, we reconstructed radial growth patterns of common junipers (Juniperus communis L.) with different crown cover and infestation degree by dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium oxycedri (DC.) M. Bieb.) in two sites with contrasting aspect and water availability located in north-eastern Spain. We used dendrochronology to study the response of junipers’ radial growth to climatic factors (temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture), an index of drought severity, and mistletoe infestation. Juniper growth was constrained by elevated temperatures and low precipitation leading to drought during the growing season. Infestation by dwarf mistletoe contributed to a short-term growth decline in junipers. The interaction between low summer precipitation and high dwarf mistletoe infestation constrained juniper growth, particularly in the north-oriented wetter site, where hosts presented higher growth rates during wet periods. The negative impact of low summer precipitation on juniper growth overrides the effects due to dwarf mistletoe infestation. Aridification and mistletoe infestation could trigger dieback and mortality of shrubs slowing down successional dynamics and delaying shrub encroachment into former croplands and grasslands. View Full-Text
Keywords: dendroecology; Juniperus communis; Arceuthobium oxycedri; Mediterranean shrublands; water deficit dendroecology; Juniperus communis; Arceuthobium oxycedri; Mediterranean shrublands; water deficit
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tamudo, E.; Camarero, J.J.; Sangüesa-Barreda, G.; Anadón, J.D. Dwarf Mistletoe and Drought Contribute to Growth Decline, Dieback and Mortality of Junipers. Forests 2021, 12, 1199. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091199

AMA Style

Tamudo E, Camarero JJ, Sangüesa-Barreda G, Anadón JD. Dwarf Mistletoe and Drought Contribute to Growth Decline, Dieback and Mortality of Junipers. Forests. 2021; 12(9):1199. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091199

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tamudo, Elisa, J. J. Camarero, Gabriel Sangüesa-Barreda, and José D. Anadón 2021. "Dwarf Mistletoe and Drought Contribute to Growth Decline, Dieback and Mortality of Junipers" Forests 12, no. 9: 1199. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091199

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