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Pinus nigra Arn. ssp salzmannii early recruitment and initial seedling growth in warmer and drier locations: the role of seed and soil provenance

Lucas-Borja, M. E., Candel-Pérez, D., Tíscar, P. A., Prévosto, B., Hedo, J.
Plant ecology 2017 v.218 no.6 pp. 761-772
Pinus nigra, altitude, biomass, climatic factors, drought, habitats, mountains, provenance, roots, seedling emergence, seedling growth, seedlings, seeds, soil, soil quality, temperature, Spain
Current decreasing precipitation and increasing temperatures promote the likelihood of extreme drought events and may alter the recruitment capacities of tree species. Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra ssp. salzmannii) initial recruitment is being one of the most affected pine species by changing conditions with alterations in the future species distribution. In this context, a cross-exchange experiment was implemented using an outdoor nursery located in a warmer and drier location for testing different Spanish Black pine seeds and soil provenance combinations in relation to early recruitment and initial seedling growth. Soil and seeds were collected at a high (HA, 1641 m.a.s.l.) and low (LA, 1099 m.a.s.l.) altitude in Cuenca Mountains (Spain). Then, a cross-sown experiment using HA and LA soils and seeds was set up in an outdoor nursery, which is located in Albacete (704 m.a.s.l.). Soil quality, seedling emergence, seedling survival, initial seedling growth and total seedling dry mass were measured after one year. We found higher seed emergence and seedling survival by combining LA soil with LA seeds or HA soil with HA seeds. Seedlings from LA seeds with both soil origins and seedlings from HA seeds with LA soils allocated more biomass to roots than seedlings from HA sites growing in HA soils under drier and warmer conditions. These results support the idea that autochthonous provenances have the potential to adapt to changing climatic conditions in their habitats.