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Climate 2019, 7(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7030042

A New Wetness Index to Evaluate the Soil Water Availability Influence on Gross Primary Production of European Forests

1
Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ISPRA, Via Brancati 48, I–00144 Rome, Italy
2
Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA), C.R. Casaccia, Via Anguillarese 301, I–00123 S. Maria di Galeria, Rome, Italy
3
Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, I–00185 Rome, Italy
4
Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis (CREA)—Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Viale Santa Margherita 80, 52100 Arezzo, Italy
5
Italian National Research Council, CNR, Via Madonna del Piano 10, I–50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
6
ARGANS, 260 route du Pin Montard, 06410 Biot, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution and Plant Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Rising temperature, drought and more-frequent extreme climatic events have been predicted for the next decades in many regions around the globe. In this framework, soil water availability plays a pivotal role in affecting vegetation productivity, especially in arid or semi-arid environments. However, direct measurements of soil moisture are scarce, and modeling estimations are still subject to biases. Further investigation on the effect of soil moisture on plant productivity is required. This study aims at analyzing spatio-temporal variations of a modified temperature vegetation wetness index (mTVWI), a proxy of soil moisture, and evaluating its effect on gross primary production (GPP) in forests. The study was carried out in Europe on 19 representative tree species during the 2000–2010 time period. Results outline a north–south gradient of mTVWI with minimum values (low soil water availability) in Southern Europe and maximum values (high soil water availability) in Northeastern Europe. A low soil water availability negatively affected GPP from 20 to 80%, as a function of site location, tree species, and weather conditions. Such a wetness index improves our understanding of water stress impacts, which is crucial for predicting the response of forest carbon cycling to drought and aridity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Crown defoliation; drought; Gross Primary Production; modified Temperature Vegetation Wetness Index; MODIS; Soil Moisture Crown defoliation; drought; Gross Primary Production; modified Temperature Vegetation Wetness Index; MODIS; Soil Moisture
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Proietti, C.; Anav, A.; Vitale, M.; Fares, S.; Fornasier, M.F.; Screpanti, A.; Salvati, L.; Paoletti, E.; Sicard, P.; De Marco, A. A New Wetness Index to Evaluate the Soil Water Availability Influence on Gross Primary Production of European Forests. Climate 2019, 7, 42.

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