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Special Issue "Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 April 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jordi Voltas

Department of Crop and Forest Sciences - AGROTECNIO Center, University of Lleida, Avda. Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mediterranean forests, ecophysiology, stable isotopes ecology, adaptation and evolutionary trade-offs, genotype-environment interaction, drought resistance, dendroecology and tree-ring networks
Guest Editor
Dr. Jesús Julio Camarero

Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE-CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1002, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dendroecology; forest ecology; tree dieback; environmental stress; climate warming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tree rings provide long-term information on forest productivity and allow quantifying forest responses to environmental cues. Nowadays the conventional premise stating that site-level growth-climate relationships are stable over time and uniform is challenged based on how trees are reacting to climate warming. Updated information on emerging climatic threats on forests is required as new combinations of climate conditions (precipitation, temperature, and drought) coupled with a more frequent incidence of climate extremes and increasing CO2 are entraining forest ecosystems worldwide. However, the ecological repercussions of climatic change may differ among biomes so we need a qualitative leap forward to increase our knowledge on current and future forest reactions worldwide. We encourage studies on the broad field of tree-ring sciences providing the latest information on present and forecasted tree performances under climate change. Topics potentially contributing to this Special Issue are: (1) long-term growth and physiology of coexisting species regarding their ability to cope with warming-induced drought stress; (2) ecophysiological and genetic basis for individual tree predispositions to climate-driven mortality; and (3) early-warning signals of forest dieback and identification of tipping points at individual (physiological) and population (biogeographical approaches) levels. Data on growth, physiology and wood anatomy derived from tree rings are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Jordi Voltas
Dr. Jesús Julio Camarero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate Warming
  • Tree-ring Networks
  • Dendroecology
  • Stable Isotopes
  • Tree-ring Sciences
  • Extreme Climate Events
  • Drought
  • Historical Ecology
  • Forest Dynamics
  • Forest Growth

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Cumulative Drought Stress Leads to a Loss of Growth Resilience and Explains Higher Mortality in Planted than in Naturally Regenerated Pinus pinaster Stands
Forests 2018, 9(6), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060358
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The assessment of the long-term impacts of drought on tree growth decline using tree-ring analyses may be used to test if plantations are more vulnerable to warming after successive droughts, leading to a “cumulative stress” effect. We selected 76 Pinus pinaster trees (declining [...] Read more.
The assessment of the long-term impacts of drought on tree growth decline using tree-ring analyses may be used to test if plantations are more vulnerable to warming after successive droughts, leading to a “cumulative stress” effect. We selected 76 Pinus pinaster trees (declining and non-declining trees), and basal area increments over the last 20 years (BAI20) were calculated to build the chronologies for the stand types and vigor classes. Resistance, recovery and resilience indices were calculated. Pearson correlations, analyses and Partial Least-Squares regression were used to analyze the relationships among the response and environmental variables. We found a negative and significant relationship between mean temperature for May and June of the current year and growth in the naturally regenerated stands. This negative effect on growth under warm spring conditions was more noticeable in plantations than in naturally regenerated stands. A negative trend along time was found for the resilience index in planted stands. Evapotranspiration, maximum temperature and annual radiation showed significant and negative correlations with the growth of declining trees from planted stands, indicating they are susceptible to drought stress. Declining trees in planted stands showed a loss of growth resilience, specifically a negative trend after successive droughts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Moisture-Limited Tree Growth for a Subtropical Himalayan Conifer Forest in Western Nepal
Forests 2018, 9(6), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060340
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
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Abstract
Chir pine (Pinus roxburghii Sarg.) is a common tree species with ecological and economic importance across the subtropical forests of the central Himalayas. However, little is known about its growth response to the recent warming and drying trends observed in this region. [...] Read more.
Chir pine (Pinus roxburghii Sarg.) is a common tree species with ecological and economic importance across the subtropical forests of the central Himalayas. However, little is known about its growth response to the recent warming and drying trends observed in this region. Here, we developed a 268-year-long ring-width chronology (1743–2010) from western Nepal to investigate its growth response to climate. Based on nearby available meteorological records, growth was positively correlated with winter (November to February; r = 0.39, p < 0.05) as well as March to April (r = 0.67, p < 0.001) precipitation. Growth also showed a strong positive correlation with the sum of precipitation from November of the previous year to April of the current year (r = 0.65, p < 0.001). In contrast, a negative relationship with the mean temperature in March to April (r = −0.48, p < 0.05) suggests the influence of warming-induced evapotranspiration on tree growth. Spring droughts lasting 4–6 months constrain Chir pine growth. These results are supported by the synchronization between droughts and very narrow or locally missing rings. Warming and drying tendencies during winter and spring will reduce forest growth and resilience and make Chir pine forests more vulnerable and at higher risk of growth decline and dieback. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Climate Change-Induced Shift of Tree Growth Sensitivity at a Central Himalayan Treeline Ecotone
Forests 2018, 9(5), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050267
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (10463 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Himalayan treelines are exposed to above average climate change impact, resulting in complex tree growth–climate relationships for Himalayan Silver Fir (Abies spectabilis (D. Don) Spach) at central Himalayan treelines. The majority of recent studies detected current tree growth sensitivity to dry conditions [...] Read more.
Himalayan treelines are exposed to above average climate change impact, resulting in complex tree growth–climate relationships for Himalayan Silver Fir (Abies spectabilis (D. Don) Spach) at central Himalayan treelines. The majority of recent studies detected current tree growth sensitivity to dry conditions during pre-monsoon seasons. The aim of this study was to analyze growth–climate relationships for more than a century for a treeline ecotone in east-central Nepal and to test for Blue Intensity (BI; used as a surrogate of maximum late wood density) as climate proxy. We determined the relationships of Abies spectabilis radial tree growth and BI to climate by correlating both to temperature, precipitation and drought index data. The results showed a significantly unstable dendroclimatic signal over time. Climate warming-induced moisture deficits during pre-monsoon seasons became a major factor limiting radial tree growth during recent decades. Earlier in time, the dendroclimatic signal was weaker, predominantly reflecting a positive relationship of tree growth and summer temperature. Compared to radial tree growth, BI showed a different but strong climate signal. Temporally unstable correlations may be attributed to increasing effects of above-average rates of climate warming. An extended network of Himalayan tree-ring sites is needed to further analyze cause–effect relationships and to solve this attribution problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Species- and Elevation-Dependent Growth Responses to Climate Warming of Mountain Forests in the Qinling Mountains, Central China
Forests 2018, 9(5), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050248
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2043 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate warming is significantly affecting the composition and function of forest ecosystems. However, the forest responses to climate change in sub-humid and temperate areas are understudied compared with cold and semi-arid areas. Here, we investigate the radial-growth responses of two subalpine conifer species [...] Read more.
Climate warming is significantly affecting the composition and function of forest ecosystems. However, the forest responses to climate change in sub-humid and temperate areas are understudied compared with cold and semi-arid areas. Here, we investigate the radial-growth responses of two subalpine conifer species along an elevational gradient located in the Qinling Mountains, a sub-humid and temperate area situated in central China. Three sites dominated by larch (Larix chinensis Beissn.) and two other sites dominated by fir (Abies fargesii Franch.) located at different elevations were sampled. L. chinensis at a higher elevation showed more common and stronger climatic signals than A. fargesii at a lower elevation. The radial growth of L. chinensis was limited by low pre-growing season temperatures and showed an increasing growth trend in the last few years. On the other hand, A. fargesii growth was limited by summer water shortage and it was characterized by a declining trend in the most recent decade. Consequently, L. chinensis would benefit from climate warming, whereas A. fargesii could be regarded as a vulnerable tree species to warming-induced drought stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Drought Decreases Growth and Increases Mortality of Coexisting Native and Introduced Tree Species in a Temperate Floodplain Forest
Forests 2018, 9(4), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040205
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3700 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest dieback and mortality events induced by drought stress are widely reported. However, few studies have jointly examined the role played by drought on growth and mortality in tree species inhabiting floodplain forests. Here, we focused on mortality events occurring since the early [...] Read more.
Forest dieback and mortality events induced by drought stress are widely reported. However, few studies have jointly examined the role played by drought on growth and mortality in tree species inhabiting floodplain forests. Here, we focused on mortality events occurring since the early 2000s on large areas in a floodplain forest located within the Ticino regional park in Northwest Italy, where affected native (pedunculate oak, Quercus robur L.) and introduced tree species (black locust, Robinia pseudoacacia L.) coexist. We related growth with climate data and drought severity to discern if these species were similarly affected by drought. Then, we: (i) evaluated the presence of pathogens of the genus Phytophthora in recently dead oak trees since this was the most affected species and pathogens are often associated with oak decline cases; and (ii) compared xylem vessel diameter and tree-ring C isotope discrimination (δ13C) to highlight differences in water-use strategies between living and dead trees in both species. The radial growth of living and dead trees started diverging in the 1970s, although only after warm-drought periods occurred during 1990s did this divergence become significant. Growth of trees that died responded more negatively to drought than in the case of living trees. Moreover, trees that died formed smaller xylem vessels in the past than living trees and also showed more negative δ13C values in both tree species, indicating a higher intrinsic water-use efficiency in living than in dead trees. The pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands was only detected in one recently dead tree, suggesting that it is unlikely that dead oaks were predisposed to drought damage by the pathogen. We conclude that a climate shift from wet to warm-dry summer conditions in the early 1990s triggered forest dieback and induced mortality in both tree species. Temperate floodplain forests are susceptible to drought-induced dieback. The drought-sensitivity of both species could lead to successional shifts driven by a reduction of N inputs through N-fixing by black locust and the replacement of oak by drought-tolerant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Drought-Induced Changes in Wood Density Are Not Prevented by Thinning in Scots Pine Stands
Forests 2018, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010004
Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6945 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Density is an important wood mechanical property and an indicator of xylem architecture and hydraulic conductivity. It can be influenced by forest management and climate. We studied the impact of thinning and climate variables on annual stem radial growth (ring width and ring [...] Read more.
Density is an important wood mechanical property and an indicator of xylem architecture and hydraulic conductivity. It can be influenced by forest management and climate. We studied the impact of thinning and climate variables on annual stem radial growth (ring width and ring density, and their earlywood and latewood components) in two contrasting Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands in northern Spain (one continental, one Mediterranean). At each site, three thinning regimes (control or T0, removing 20% basal area or T20, and removing 30% or T30) were randomly applied to nine plots per site (three plots per treatment) in 1999. Thinning was repeated at the Mediterranean site in 2009 (increasing thinning intensity in T30 to 40%). Eight trees per plot were cored in spring 2014. Second thinning at the Mediterranean site and first thinning at the continental site generally caused significantly wider ring (RW), earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW) widths, although no differences between T20 and T30/40 were found, supporting in part the common observation that radial growth is enhanced following thinning as competition for water and nutrients is reduced. At the Mediterranean site, values of latewood density (LD) and maximum density (Dmax) relative to pre-thinning conditions were significantly lower in T0 than in T30. However, at the continental site, relative changes of ring density (RD) and LD were significantly higher in T0 than in T20 and T30. Climate significantly affected not only RW but also RD, with significant RD drops during or right after unusually warm-dry years (e.g., 2003, 2011), which were characterized by LD reductions between 5.4 and 8.0%. Such RD decreases were quickly followed by recovery of pre-drought density values. These results indicate trees temporarily reduce LD as a way to enhance hydraulic conductivity during dry summers. However, climate effects on wood density were site-dependent. We also detected that the thinning effect was not intense enough to prevent drought-induced changes in wood density by altering water availability, but it could help to reduce wood properties fluctuations and therefore maintain more homogeneous wood mechanic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Wild Apple Growth and Climate Change in Southeast Kazakhstan
Forests 2017, 8(11), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110406
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 22 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
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Abstract
Wild populations of Malus sieversii [Ldb.] M. Roem are valued genetic and watershed resources in Inner Eurasia. These populations are located in a region that has experienced rapid and on-going climatic change over the past several decades. We assess relationships between climate variables [...] Read more.
Wild populations of Malus sieversii [Ldb.] M. Roem are valued genetic and watershed resources in Inner Eurasia. These populations are located in a region that has experienced rapid and on-going climatic change over the past several decades. We assess relationships between climate variables and wild apple radial growth with dendroclimatological techniques to understand the potential of a changing climate to influence apple radial growth. Ring-width chronologies spanning 48 to 129 years were developed from 12 plots in the Trans-Ili Alatau and Jungar Alatau ranges of Tian Shan Mountains, southeastern Kazakhstan. Cluster analysis of the plot-level chronologies suggests different temporal patterns of growth variability over the last century in the two mountain ranges studied. Changes in the periodicity of annual ring-width variability occurred ca. 1970 at both mountain ranges, with decadal-scale variability supplanted by quasi-biennial variation. Seascorr correlation analysis of primary and secondary weather variables identified negative growth associations with spring precipitation and positive associations with cooler fall-winter temperatures, but the relative importance of these relationships varied spatially and temporally, with a shift in the relative importance of spring precipitation ca. 1970 at Trans-Ili Alatau. Altered apple tree radial growth patterns correspond to altered climatology in the Lake Balkhash Basin driven by unprecedented intensified Arctic Oscillations after the late 1970s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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