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Drought impacts in forest canopy and deciduous tree saplings in Central European forests

Title data

Beloiu, Mirela ; Stahlmann, Reinhold ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl:
Drought impacts in forest canopy and deciduous tree saplings in Central European forests.
In: Forest Ecology and Management. Vol. 509 (2022) . - No. 120075.
ISSN 0378-1127
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120075

Abstract in another language

Forests worldwide are increasingly exposed to extreme weather events. Drought deteriorates the health, structure, and functioning of forests, which can lead to reduced diversity, decreased productivity, and increased tree mortality. Therefore, it is an urgent need to assess the impact of drought on tree species. Due to differences in tree physiology, saplings and mature trees are likely to respond specifically to drought conditions. In contrast to mature trees, little is known about the response of saplings to drought. Here, we combine in-situ field measurements for saplings of deciduous tree species with remote sensing for forest canopy to assess drought damage, recovery, and sapling mortality patterns during a centennial drought (2018, 2019) and beyond (2020). We measured 2051 saplings out of 214 plots in Central Germany. Forest canopy health was assessed using 10 × 10 m resolution satellite observations for the same locations. We (1) demonstrate that forest canopy exhibits long-lasting drought-induced effects, (2) show that saplings have a remarkable capacity to recover from drought and survive a subsequent drought, (3) demonstrate that reduced sapling recovery leads to their mortality, (4)reveal that drought damage on saplings increases from pioneer to non-pioneer species, and mortality is ranking from Sorbus aucuparia > Sambucus nigra > Fraxinus excelsior, Acer campestre, Frangula alnus > Ulmus glabra > Carpinus betulus > Betula pendula, Fagus sylvatica > Acer pseudoplatanus > Quercus petraea > Corylus avellana, Crataegus spp., > Prunus avium, Quercus robur; and (5) link drought response to site conditions, indicating that species diversity and winter precipitation as relevant indicators of tree health. If periods of drought become more frequent, as expected, this could negatively impact mid-term forest recovery, alter long-term tree species assemblages and reduce biodiversity and functional resilience of forest ecosystems. We suggest that models offorest response to drought should differentiate between the forest canopy and understory and also consider species-specific responses as we found a broad spectrum of responses within the same plant functional type of deciduous tree species in terms of drought damage and recovery.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: 2018 and 2019 droughts; Temperate forests; Climate change; Sentinel-2; Forest health; Tree recovery; Sapling mortality
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 07:10
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 07:14
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/68683