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Long-term effects of environmental change and species diversity on tree radial growth in a mixed European forest

Bosela, M., Kulla, L., Roessiger, J., Seben, V., Dobor, L., Buntgen, U. and Lukac, M. (2019) Long-term effects of environmental change and species diversity on tree radial growth in a mixed European forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 446. pp. 293-303. ISSN 0378-1127

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2019.05.033


Norway spruce (Picea abies), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), silver fir (Abies alba) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) typically co-occur in European forests, but show contrasting response to climate and environmental change. Sustainable forest management therefore depends on species- and regional-specific information. Here, we use tree-ring width measurements of 334 beech, 280 fir, 144 spruce and 63 pine trees from 75 inventory plots in Slovakia to assess the predominant climatic factors that control radial stem growth of Europe’s economically most important forest species. All four species exhibit significant shifts in stem growth over the past 100 years. Ring width patterns were, however, not significantly affected by tree species diversity and site elevation. The resistance, resilience and recovery of all species to the extreme summer droughts between 1950 and 2003 suggest that spruce is the species most unsuitable for the predicted warmer and drier future. Silver fir may benefit from warmer conditions, although we cannot conclude that it will not suffer from predicted increased frequency of climate extremes. Forest management in this locality should aim to avoid significant loss of forest cover by replacing Norway spruce monocultures with mixed stands of silver fir and European beech.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:83885


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