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Forests 2018, 9(6), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060363

Compound-Specific Carbon Isotopes and Concentrations of Carbohydrates and Organic Acids as Indicators of Tree Decline in Mountain Pine

1
Forest Ecology, Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
2
Climate Impacts and Risks in the Anthropocene (C-CIA), Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, Climatic Change and Climate Impacts, 66 Boulevard Carl Vogt, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland
3
Institute of ecology and geography, Siberian Federal University, 660041 Krasnoyarsk, Svobodny pr 79, Russia
4
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
5
Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Application in Forest Growth Assessment)
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Abstract

We investigated seasonal variations in δ13C values and concentrations of carbohydrates and organic acids in needles of declining and healthy mountain pine (Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (DC.) Domin) trees from the Swiss National Park (SNP), using compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA). Our goal was to study the impact of climatic drivers on the individual compounds and understand the reasons of partial tree declines in relation to healthy mountain pine trees under seasonal weather patterns. We found that temperature is the main climatic driver determining the seasonal carbon dynamics at the needle level. Lower seasonal δ13C variability and lower concentration levels of sucrose in needles suggest less photosynthetic activity and sink carbon demand in declining compared to healthy mountain pine trees. Higher concentration levels of hexose (glucose and fructose) can play a reserve function for surviving mechanisms of mountain pine trees. Seasonal patterns of organic acid (malate and citrate) suggest an increasing investment in maintenance and repair mechanisms. The seasonal course of carbohydrates and organic acids can therefore be considered an indicator for a modified carbon metabolism within the leaves and possibly within the other tree tissues, partially explaining the decline of mountain pine trees. View Full-Text
Keywords: tree needles; declining trees; water shortage; Compound-Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA); climate tree needles; declining trees; water shortage; Compound-Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA); climate
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Churakova (Sidorova), O.V.; Lehmann, M.M.; Saurer, M.; Fonti, M.V.; Siegwolf, R.T.W.; Bigler, C. Compound-Specific Carbon Isotopes and Concentrations of Carbohydrates and Organic Acids as Indicators of Tree Decline in Mountain Pine. Forests 2018, 9, 363.

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