Weather and trade-offs between growth and reproduction regulate fruit production in European forests

Vergotti M.J., Fernández-Martínez M., Kefauver S.C., Janssens I.A., Peñuelas J. (2019) Weather and trade-offs between growth and reproduction regulate fruit production in European forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 279: 0-0.
Doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2019.107711


Some tree species have a highly variable year-to-year pattern of reproduction which has repercussions for the entire ecosystem. Links between meteorological variability, fruit production and crown cover, and trade-offs between reproduction and vegetative growth, remain elusive, despite a long history of research. We explored how meteorological conditions determined variations in fruit production and crown cover and how remotely sensed vegetation indices, such as the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), may be used to characterize the fluctuations in fruit production. We used data for fruit production from six European tree species (Abies alba, Picea abies, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea and Q. robur) growing in monospecific stands, EVI and seasonal meteorological variables (precipitation and temperature) for 2002–2010. Weather accounted for fruit production better than EVI. Deciduous trees were more responsive to weather than evergreens, most notably to different seasonal temperatures, which were positively correlated mainly with crown cover and fruit production in deciduous species. Our results also suggested different patterns of relationships between fruit production, crown cover and weather, indicating different strategies of resource management. These patterns indicated a possible internal trade-off in evergreens, with resources allocated to either growth or reproduction. In contrast, in deciduous species we found no evidence for such a trade-off between vegetative growth and reproduction. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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