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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1931;

Climate Change Sensitivity of Multi-Species Afforestation in Semi-Arid Benin

Center for Development Research (ZEF), Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, 145 Anam-Ro, Seongbuk-Gu, Seoul 02841, Korea
WASCAL Competence Center, 06 P.O. Box 9507 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Southeast Asia Regional Programme, PO Box 161, Bogor 16001, Indonesia
Plant Production Systems Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 430, 6700 AK Wageningen, The Netherlands
Center for Development Research (ZEF), Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forests as a Key Climate Solution)
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The early growth stage is critical in the response of trees to climate change and variability. It is not clear, however, what climate metrics are best to define the early-growth sensitivity in assessing adaptation strategies of young forests to climate change. Using a combination of field experiments and modelling, we assessed the climate sensitivity of two promising afforestation species, Jatropha curcas L. and Moringa oleifera Lam., by analyzing their predicted climate–growth relationships in the initial two years after planting on degraded cropland in the semi-arid zone of Benin. The process-based WaNuLCAS model (version 4.3, World Agroforestry Centre, Bogor, Indonesia) was used to simulate aboveground biomass growth for each year in the climate record (1981–2016), either as the first or as the second year of tree growth. Linear mixed models related the annual biomass growth to climate indicators, and climate sensitivity indices quantified climate–growth relationships. In the first year, the length of dry spells had the strongest effect on tree growth. In the following year, the annual water deficit and length of dry season became the strongest predictors. Simulated rooting depths greater than those observed in the experiments enhanced biomass growth under extreme dry conditions and reduced sapling sensitivity to drought. Projected increases in aridity implied significant growth reduction, but a multi-species approach to afforestation using species that are able to develop deep-penetrating roots should increase the resilience of young forests to climate change. The results illustrate that process-based modelling, combined with field experiments, can be effective in assessing the climate–growth relationships of tree species. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate sensitivity indices; Jatropha curcas; land degradation; Moringa oleifera; sapling growth; WaNuLCAS; West Africa climate sensitivity indices; Jatropha curcas; land degradation; Moringa oleifera; sapling growth; WaNuLCAS; West Africa

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Noulèkoun, F.; Khamzina, A.; Naab, J.B.; Khasanah, N.; Van Noordwijk, M.; Lamers, J.P.A. Climate Change Sensitivity of Multi-Species Afforestation in Semi-Arid Benin. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1931.

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