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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Warmer and Drier Environmental Conditions on Species-Specific Stem Circumference Dynamics and Water Status of Conifers in Submontane Zone of Central Slovakia

1
Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 24, 96001 Zvolen, Slovakia
2
Department of Plant Ecophysiology, Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Štúrova 2, 96053 Zvolen, Slovakia
3
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 16500 Praha 6—Suchdol, Czech Republic
4
Department of Biodiversity of Ecosystems and Landscape, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Štefánikova 3, P.O.Box 25, 81499 Bratislava, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2945; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102945
Received: 14 September 2020 / Revised: 16 October 2020 / Accepted: 18 October 2020 / Published: 21 October 2020
The frequency and intensity of droughts and heatwaves in Europe with notable impact on forest growth are expected to increase due to climate change. Coniferous stands planted outside the natural habitats of species belong to the most threatened forests. In this study, we assess stem circumference response of coniferous species (Larix decidua and Abies alba) to environmental conditions during the years 2015–2019. The study was performed in Arboretum in Zvolen (ca. 300 m a.s.l., Central Slovakia) characterised by a warmer and drier climate when compared to their natural habitats (located above 900 m a.s.l.), where they originated from. Seasonal radial variation, tree water deficit (ΔW), and maximum daily shrinkage (MDS) were derived from the records obtained from band dendrometers installed on five mature trees per species. Monitored species exhibited remarkably different growth patterns under highly above normal temperatures and uneven precipitation distribution. The magnitudes of reversible circumference changes (ΔW, MDS) were species-specific and strongly correlated with environmental factors. The wavelet analysis identified species-specific vulnerability to drought indicated by pronounced diurnal stem variation periodicity in rainless periods. L. decidua exhibited more strained stem water status and higher sensitivity to environmental conditions than A. alba. Tree water deficit and maximum daily shrinkage were found appropriate characteristics to compare water status of different tree species. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; dendrometer; stem water deficit; shrinkage; morlet wavelet climate change; dendrometer; stem water deficit; shrinkage; morlet wavelet
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MDPI and ACS Style

Leštianska, A.; Fleischer, P., Jr.; Merganičová, K.; Fleischer, P.; Střelcová, K. Influence of Warmer and Drier Environmental Conditions on Species-Specific Stem Circumference Dynamics and Water Status of Conifers in Submontane Zone of Central Slovakia. Water 2020, 12, 2945.

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