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Inter- and intra-specific variation in drought sensitivity in Abies spec. and its relation to wood density and growth traits
- George, Jan-Peter, Schueler, Silvio, Karanitsch-Ackerl, Sandra, Mayer, Konrad, Klumpp, Raphael T., Grabner, Michael
- Agricultural and forest meteorology 2015 v.214-215 pp. 430-443
- Abies alba, X-radiation, atmospheric precipitation, carbon sequestration, climate change, densitometry, drought, forest management, forests, genetic variation, growing season, growth traits, latewood, planting, provenance, tree mortality, trees, wood density, Austria
- Understanding drought sensitivity of tree species and its intra-specific variation is required to estimate the effects of climate change on forest productivity, carbon sequestration and tree mortality as well as to develop adaptive forest management measures. Here, we studied the variation of drought reaction of six European Abies species and ten provenances of Abies alba planted in the drought prone eastern Austria. Tree-ring and X-ray densitometry data were used to generate early- and latewood measures for ring width and wood density. Moreover, the drought reaction of species and provenances within six distinct drought events between 1970 and 2011, as identified by the standardized precipitation index, was determined by four drought response measures. The mean reaction of species and provenances to drought events was strongly affected by the seasonal occurrence of the drought: a short, strong drought at the beginning of the growing season resulted in growth reductions up to 50%, while droughts at the end of the growing season did not affect annual increment. Wood properties and drought response measures showed significant variation among Abies species as well as among A. alba provenances. Whereas A. alba provenances explained significant parts in the variation of ring width measures, the Abies species explained significant parts in the variation of wood density parameters. A consistent pattern in drought response across the six drought events was observed only at the inter-specific level, where A. nordmanniana showed the highest resistance and A. cephalonica showed the best recovery after drought. In contrast, differences in drought reaction among provenances were only found for the milder drought events in 1986, 1990, 1993 and 2000 and the ranking of provenances varied at each drought event. This indicates that genetic variation in drought response within A. alba is more limited than among Abies species. Low correlations between wood density parameters and drought response measures suggest that wood density is a poor predictor of drought sensitivity in Abies spec.