Size-dependence of tree growth response to drought for Norway spruce and European beech individuals in monospecific and mixed-species stands

H. Ding, H. Pretzsch, G. Schütze, T. Rötzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate anomalies have resulted in changing forest productivity, increasing tree mortality in Central and Southern Europe. This has resulted in more severe and frequent ecological disturbances to forest stands. This study analysed the size-dependence of growth response to drought years based on 384 tree individuals of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] and European beech [Fagus sylvatica ([L.)] in Bavaria, Germany. Samples were collected in both monospecific and mixed-species stands. To quantify the growth response to drought stress, indices for basal area increment, resistance, recovery and resilience were calculated from tree ring measurements of increment cores. Linear mixed models were developed to estimate the influence of drought periods. The results show that ageing-related growth decline is significant in drought years. Drought resilience and resistance decrease significantly with growth size among Norway spruce individuals. Evidence is also provided for robustness in the resilience capacity of European beech during drought stress. Spruce benefits from species mixing with deciduous beech, with over-yielding spruce in pure stands. The importance of the influence of size-dependence within tree growth studies during disturbances is highlighted and should be considered in future studies of disturbances, including drought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-719
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Biology
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Age dependence
  • dendrochronology
  • drought resilience
  • mixing effects
  • niche complementarity
  • over-yielding
  • size dependency

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