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Variation in the Climate Sensitivity Dependent on Neighbourhood Composition in a Secondary Mixed Forest

1
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 48940 Leioa, Bilbao, Spain
2
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IPE-CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1005, 50080 Zaragoza, Spain
3
Departamento de Ciencias Agroforestales, Área de Botánica, EUI Agrarias, Universidad de Valladolid, Los Pajaritos s/n, 42004 Soria, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010043
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Abstract

Understanding the vulnerability of individual trees to climate requires moving from population to individual level. This study evaluates individual tree response in a mixed forest by assessing how size and neighbourhood density modulated growth responses to climate among coexisting tree species. To understand the complete variation in growth responses to climate, it is necessary to consider intrapopulation variability. Trees respond as individual entities, and their response is modulated by their characteristics and neighbourhood context. To assess the individual climate sensitivity, all living Iberian birches, European beeches, and pedunculate oaks trees located in a temperate mixed forest were cored in four 40 m × 40 m plots. Standard ring-width chronologies were built at tree and species level for the 1977–2007 period. Chronologies were related to climatic variables (monthly precipitation, hailstorm and mean temperature, and summer (June–August) precipitation). Growth response to climate varied among species and individual trees. Differences in climate–growth relationship among species could be partially attributed to the different xylem anatomy, since secondary growth of ring-porous pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) was mainly dependent on the previous-winter climatic conditions (January temperature), while for the diffuse-porous Iberian birch (Betula celtiberica Rothm. and Vasc.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), spring temperature and summer precipitation were the major constraining factors of growth. Tree features and identity of neighbourhood modulated climatic response, especially for Iberian birch and pedunculate oak. Dominant trees in less crowded neighbourhoods responded more intensely to climate factors. Understanding the individual variability of growth responses to climate will provide more realistic predictions of forests response to climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: European beech; Iberian birch; pedunculate oak; individual climatic sensitivity; mixed forests; tree size European beech; Iberian birch; pedunculate oak; individual climatic sensitivity; mixed forests; tree size
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Laskurain, N.A.; Aldezabal, A.; Odriozola, I.; Camarero, J.J.; Olano, J.M. Variation in the Climate Sensitivity Dependent on Neighbourhood Composition in a Secondary Mixed Forest. Forests 2018, 9, 43.

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