Special Issue "The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 January 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Rosana López Rodríguez
Website
Guest Editor
ETSI Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural. C/ José Antonio Novais, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 10. 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: Plant hydraulics; Water relations; Drought resistance; Wood anatomy; Phenotypic plasticity
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the potential impacts of future drought events on trees is critical to managing forests for resilience to climate change. Drought resilience can be enhanced through a variety of forest management practices such as stand density and age management, species selection, management of disturbance regimes, and assisted tree migration. Managing forests for drought resilience requires the identification of tree physiological mechanisms that may affect drought avoidance, resistance, and recovery, particularly in mature trees, and forest management practices that may mitigate the impacts of drought. The goal of this Special Issue is to present novel research on tree physiological responses to drought that increase our understanding of key mechanisms related to tree and forest drought resilience. Articles in this Special Issue will contribute to the development of climate adaptation strategies for the management of forest ecosystems.

Dr. Rosana López Rodríguez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Drought
  • Climate Change
  • Forest Management
  • Water and Carbon Relations
  • Mortality
  • Drought Tolerance
  • Drought Resilience

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Counter-Intuitive Response to Water Limitation in a Southern European Provenance of Frangula alnus Mill. in a Common Garden Experiment
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111186 - 10 Nov 2020
Abstract
Climate change will intensify drought periods during the growing season in Western Europe. We mimicked this prediction by withholding water in summer from young rooted cuttings of Frangula alnus Mill., a common shrub species, originating from different latitudes in Europe (Italy, Belgium and [...] Read more.
Climate change will intensify drought periods during the growing season in Western Europe. We mimicked this prediction by withholding water in summer from young rooted cuttings of Frangula alnus Mill., a common shrub species, originating from different latitudes in Europe (Italy, Belgium and Sweden) and growing in a common garden environment in Belgium. We followed the responses to the drought up to two years after the treatment. Counter-intuitively, the Italian provenance displayed earlier symptoms and stronger effects of water limitation than the other two provenances. A putative higher transpiration in this provenance could be suggested based on a relative larger shoot growth, larger leaves and a higher stomatal density. After the post-drought re-watering, the droughted plants of the Italian provenance entered leaf senescence later than the control plants, likely as a compensation mechanism for the lost growing time. Bud burst in the first year after the drought treatment and leaf senescence in the next autumn were both advanced in the drought treated group when compared with the control plants. Bud burst in the second year after the drought treatment did not display any differentiation anymore between control and drought treated plants. Growth traits also displayed legacies of the water limitation. For example, the drought treated plants showed a lower number of reshoots upon pruning in the year after the drought treatment. Our results suggest that assisted migration from southern Europe to western Europe as a climate change adaptation strategy might not always follow the expected patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Habit and Stem Hydraulic Traits Determine Functional Segregation of Multiple Oak Species along a Water Availability Gradient
Forests 2020, 11(8), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080894 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
Oaks are a dominant woody plant genus in the northern hemisphere that occupy a wide range of habitats and are ecologically diverse. We implemented a functional trait approach that included nine functional traits related to leaves and stems in order to explain the [...] Read more.
Oaks are a dominant woody plant genus in the northern hemisphere that occupy a wide range of habitats and are ecologically diverse. We implemented a functional trait approach that included nine functional traits related to leaves and stems in order to explain the species coexistence of 21 oak species along a water availability gradient in a temperate forest in Mexico. This particular forest is characterized as a biodiversity hotspot, with many oak species including some endemics. Our main aim was to investigate whether the different oak species had specific trait associations that allow them to coexist along an environmental gradient at regional scale. First, we explored trait covariation and determined the main functional dimensions in which oaks were segregated. Second, we explored how environmental variation has selected for restricted functional dimensions that shape oak distributions along the gradient, regardless of their leaf life span or phylogeny (section level). Third, we quantified the niche overlap between the oak functional spaces at different levels. The analyzed species showed three functional dimensions of trait variation: a primary axis related to the leaf economic spectrum, which corresponds to the segregation of the species according to leaf habit; a second axis that reflects the stem hydraulic properties and corresponds to species segregation followed by phylogenetic segregation, reflecting some degree of trait conservatism, and a third axis, represented mainly by leaf area and plant height, that corresponds to species segregation. Finally, our findings indicated that the functional space measured with leaf traits and stem traits such as hydraulic capacity was integrally linked to niche differentiation. This linkage suggests that the earliest mechanism of species segregation was related to habitat suitability and that the stem hydraulic trade-off reflects differences between phylogenetic sections; these traits may promote coexistence between distantly related oak species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Hardening Contributes to the Maintenance of Proportions of Non-Embolized Xylem and Cambium Status during Consecutive Dry Treatment in Container-Grown Seedling of Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Forests 2020, 11(4), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040441 - 13 Apr 2020
Abstract
Climate models in Japan predict that the annual mean air temperature and number of consecutive dry days will increase in the future, leading to high seedling mortality rates. Maintaining high survival rates of Cryptomeria japonica seedlings, a commercially important tree species, is therefore, [...] Read more.
Climate models in Japan predict that the annual mean air temperature and number of consecutive dry days will increase in the future, leading to high seedling mortality rates. Maintaining high survival rates of Cryptomeria japonica seedlings, a commercially important tree species, is therefore, important in terms of appropriate forest management under climate change. Although drought hardening, in which seedlings are acclimated to dry conditions in the nursery prior to planting, contributes to increased survival under drought conditions, little is known about the effective irrigation frequency of drought hardening in C. japonica seedlings. In this study, we therefore, examine the effectiveness of different drought-hardening treatments in C. japonica. We first clarify the effects on physiological and morphological traits by comparing three drought-hardening treatments [control (C): Irrigation once daily; mild (M): irrigation once every three days; and severe (S): irrigation once every five days] for one month. Next, to confirm the effects during consecutive dry treatment, we stopped irrigation for 13 days and once again compared the physiological traits between the three drought-hardening treatments. Drought hardening reduced whole-plant transpiration (Ewhole), resulting in conserved water use, and this tendency was particularly evident under the S treatment. Moreover, during consecutive dry treatment, the Ewhole, proportions of non-embolized xylem, and cambium status of basal stem regions were maintained for the longest duration under the S treatment, followed by the M treatment. Our findings suggest that the efficiency of drought hardening increased with drought severity. Furthermore, one month of drought hardening contributed to both water conservation and the maintenance of cell differentiation under consecutive dry treatment, likely increasing the tolerance and survival of C. japonica seedlings under prolonged drought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
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Open AccessArticle
Responses to Water Deficit and Salt Stress in Silver Fir (Abies alba Mill.) Seedlings
Forests 2020, 11(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040395 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Forest ecosystems are frequently exposed to abiotic stress, which adversely affects their growth, resistance and survival. For silver fir (Abies alba), the physiological and biochemical responses to water and salt stress have not been extensively studied. Responses of one-year-old seedlings to [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems are frequently exposed to abiotic stress, which adversely affects their growth, resistance and survival. For silver fir (Abies alba), the physiological and biochemical responses to water and salt stress have not been extensively studied. Responses of one-year-old seedlings to a 30-day water stress (withholding irrigation) or salt stress (100, 200 and 300 mM NaCl) treatments were analysed by determining stress-induced changes in growth parameters and different biochemical markers: accumulation of ions, different osmolytes and malondialdehyde (MDA, an oxidative stress biomarker), in the seedlings, and activation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant systems. Both salt and water stress caused growth inhibition. The results obtained indicated that the most relevant responses to drought are based on the accumulation of soluble carbohydrates as osmolytes/osmoprotectants. Responses to high salinity, on the other hand, include the active transport of Na+, Cl and Ca2+ to the needles, the maintenance of relatively high K+/Na+ ratios and the accumulation of proline and soluble sugars for osmotic balance. Interestingly, relatively high Na+ concentrations were measured in the needles of A. alba seedlings at low external salinity, suggesting that Na+ can contribute to osmotic adjustment as a ‘cheap’ osmoticum, and its accumulation may represent a constitutive mechanism of defence against stress. These responses appear to be efficient enough to avoid the generation of high levels of oxidative stress, in agreement with the small increase in MDA contents and the relatively weak activation of the tested antioxidant systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
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Open AccessArticle
Tree Water Use, Water Use Efficiency, and Carbon Isotope Discrimination in Relation to Growth Potential in Populus deltoides and Hybrids under Field Conditions
Forests 2019, 10(11), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110993 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
We explored the relationship between tree growth, water use, and related hydraulic traits in Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh.and hybrid clones, to examine potential trade-offs between growth and water use efficiency. Nine genotypes, six P. deltoides and three hybrid clones, that represented genotypes [...] Read more.
We explored the relationship between tree growth, water use, and related hydraulic traits in Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh.and hybrid clones, to examine potential trade-offs between growth and water use efficiency. Nine genotypes, six P. deltoides and three hybrid clones, that represented genotypes with high (Group H), intermediate (Group I), and low (Group L) growth performance were selected for study, based on year-two standing stem biomass in a replicated field trial. In year four, tree growth, transpiration (Et), canopy stomatal conductance (Gs), whole-tree hydraulic conductance (Gp), and carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) were measured. Tree sap flux was measured continuously using thermal dissipation probes. We hypothesized that Group H genotypes would have increased growth efficiency (GE), increased water use efficiency of production (WUEp, woody biomass growth/Et), lower Δ13C, and greater Gp than slower growing genotypes. Tree GE increased with relative growth rate (RGR), and mean GE in Group H was significantly greater than L, but not I. Tree WUEp ranged between 1.7 and 3.9 kg biomass m3 H2O−1, which increased with RGR. At similar levels of Et, WUEp was significantly greater in Group H (2.45 ± 0.20 kg m−3), compared to I (2.03 ± 0.18 kg m−3) or L (1.72 ± 0.23 kg m−3). Leaf and wood Δ13C scaled positively with stem biomass growth but was not correlated with WUEp. However, at a similar biomass increment, clones in Group H and I had significantly lower leaf Δ13C than Group L. Similarly, Group H clones had a significantly lower wood Δ13C than Group L, supporting our hypothesis of increased WUE in larger trees. Tree physiological and hydraulic traits partially explain differences in WUEp and Δ13C, and suggest that clone selection and management activities that increase tree biomass production will likely increase tree and stand WUE. However, more research is needed to discern the underlying hydraulic mechanisms responsible for the higher WUE exhibited by large trees and distinct clones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physiology of Tree Response to Drought)
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