Responses of deciduous forest trees to severe drought in Central Europe

Leuzinger, Sebastian and Zotz, Gerhard and Asshoff, Roman and Körner, Christian. (2005) Responses of deciduous forest trees to severe drought in Central Europe. Tree physiology, Vol. 25, Nr. 6. pp. 641-650.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249059

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In 2003, Central Europe experienced the warmest summer on record combined with unusually low precipitation. We studied plant water relations and phenology in a 100-year-old mixed deciduous forest on a slope (no ground water table) near Basel using the Swiss Canopy Crane (SCC). The drought lasted from early June to mid September. We studied five deciduous tree species; half of the individuals were exposed to elevated CO2 concentration ([CO2]) (530 ppm) using a free-air, atmospheric CO2-enrichment system. In late July, after the first eight weeks of drought, mean predawn leaf water potential about 30 m above ground was -0.9 MPa across all trees, dropping to a mean of -1.5 MPa in mid-August when the top 1 m of the soil profile had no plant accessible moisture. Mean stomatal conductance and rates of maximum net photosynthesis decreased considerably in mid-August across all species. However, daily peak values of sap flow remained surprisingly constant over the whole period in Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl., and decreased to only about half of the early summer maxima in Fagus sylvatica L. and Carpinus betulus L. (stomatal down-regulation of flux). Although we detected no differences in most parameters between CO2-treated and control trees, predawn leaf water potential tended to be less negative in trees exposed to elevated [CO2]. Leaf longevity was greater in 2003 compared with the previous years, but the seasonal increase in stem basal area reached only about 75 data suggest that the investigated tree species, particularly Q. petraea, did not experience severe water stress. However, an increased frequency of such exceptionally dry summers may have a more serious impact than a single event and would give Q. petraea a competitive advantage in the long run.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Körner, Christian
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Heron Publishing
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:25
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:45

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