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Tree sapling vitality and recovery following the unprecedented 2018 drought in central Europe

Title data

Beloiu Schwenke, Mirela ; Schönlau, Valeska ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl:
Tree sapling vitality and recovery following the unprecedented 2018 drought in central Europe.
In: Forest Ecosystems. Vol. 10 (2023) . - 100140.
ISSN 2197-5620
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fecs.2023.100140

Abstract in another language

Background

Ongoing climate change is anticipated to increase the frequency and intensity of drought events, thereby affecting forest recovery dynamics and elevating tree mortality. The drought of 2018, with its exceptional intensity and duration, had a significant adverse impact on tree species throughout Central Europe. However, our understanding of the resistance to and recovery of young trees from drought stress remains limited. Here, we examined the recovery patterns of native deciduous tree sapling species following the 2018 drought, and explored the impact of soil depth, understory vegetation, and litter cover on this recovery.
Methods

A total of 1,149 saplings of seven deciduous tree species were monitored in the understory of old-growth forests in Northern Bavaria, Central Germany. The vitality of the saplings was recorded from 2018 to 2021 on 170 plots.
Results

Fagus sylvatica was the most drought-resistant species, followed by Betula pendula, Acer pseudoplatanus, Quercus spp., Corylus avellana, Carpinus betulus, and Sorbus aucuparia. Although the drought conditions persisted one year later, all species recovered significantly from the 2018 drought, albeit with a slight decrease in vitality by 2021. In 2018, the drought exhibited a more pronounced adverse effect on saplings in deciduous forests compared to mixed and coniferous forests. Conversely, sapling recovery in coniferous and mixed forests exceeded that observed in deciduous forests in 2019. The pivotal factors influencing sapling resilience to drought were forest types, soil depth, and understory vegetation, whereas litter and forest canopy cover had a negative impact.
Conclusion

Long-term responses of tree species to drought can be best discerned through continuous health monitoring. These findings demonstrate the natural regeneration potential of deciduous species in the context of climate change. Selective tree species planting, soil management practices, and promoting understory diversity should be considered when implementing adaptive management strategies to enhance forest resilience to drought events.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
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
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Central research institutes
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Graduate Schools
Graduate Schools > Elite Network Bavaria
Graduate Schools > Elite Network Bavaria > Global Change Ecology
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2023 10:19
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2023 10:19
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/87199