Vayreda J., Gracia M., Martinez-Vilalta J., Retana J. (2013) Patterns and drivers of regeneration of tree species in forests of peninsular Spain. Journal of Biogeography. 40: 1252-1265.EnllaçDoi: 10.1111/jbi.12105
Aim: Our study aimed to identify and explore the main factors that influence tree recruitment of multiple species at a regional scale across peninsular Spain, an understanding of which is essential for predicting future forest species composition in the face of ongoing environmental change. The study focused on the dynamics of the key transition phase from saplings to adult trees. Location: The forests of peninsular Spain. Methods: We used the extensive network of plots sampled in two consecutive Spanish national forest inventories (> 30,000 plots) to identify the factors that determine regeneration patterns of the 10 most abundant forest species of Spain at relatively large temporal (c. 10 years) and spatial scales (across Spain): five coniferous species of Pinus (pines) and five broadleaved species of the genera Fagus and Quercus. We fitted separate generalized linear models for the pine species and the broadleaved species to assess the response of sapling abundance and ingrowth rate to the spatial variability of climate (temperature, water availability and recent warming), forest structure (tree density, understorey and overstorey canopy cover, and basal area change) and disturbances (previous forest logging, wildfires and grazing). Results: Mean sapling abundance was four times higher for broadleaved species than for pines, while mean annual ingrowth was twice as high. Sapling abundance and ingrowth rate were mainly determined by stand structure, both in pines and broadleaved trees. The direct effects of disturbances and climate were comparatively smaller, and there was no detectable effect of recent warming. Main conclusions: The higher values of ingrowth rate of broadleaved species can be explained by their ability to maintain a higher sapling bank due to their greater shade tolerance. This differential response of pines and broadleaved species to canopy closure suggests a probable increase in broadleaved species at the expense of pines. This transition could occur earlier in stands with faster canopy closure dynamics. Spatially explicit, mixed-species demographic models incorporating both the ingrowth and the tree mortality components are needed for predicting the composition of future forests. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Vilà-Cabrera A., Martínez-Vilalta J., Galiano L., Retana J. (2013) Patterns of Forest Decline and Regeneration Across Scots Pine Populations. Ecosystems. 16: 323-335.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10021-012-9615-2
To predict future changes in forest ecosystems, it is crucial to understand the complex processes involved in decline of tree species populations and to evaluate the implications for potential vegetation shifts. Here, we study patterns of decline (canopy defoliation and mortality of adults) of four Scots pine populations at the southern edge of its distribution and characterized by different combinations of climate dryness and intensity of past management. General linear and structural equation modeling were used to assess how biotic, abiotic, and management components interacted to explain the spatial variability of Scots pine decline across and within populations. Regeneration patterns of Scots pine and co-occurring oak species were analyzed to assess potential vegetation shifts. Decline trends were related to climatic dryness at the regional scale, but, ultimately, within-population forest structure, local site conditions, and past human legacies could be the main underlying drivers of Scots pine decline. Overall, Scots pine regeneration was negatively related to decline both within and between populations, whereas oak species responded to decline idiosyncratically across populations. Taken together, our results suggest that (1) patterns of decline are the result of processes acting at the plot level that modulate forest responses to local environmental stress and (2) decline of adult Scots pine trees seems not to be compensated by self-recruitment so that the future dynamics of these forest ecosystems are uncertain. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Arnan X., López B.C., Martínez-Vilalta J., Estorach M., Poyatos R. (2012) The age of monumental olive trees (Olea europaea) in northeastern Spain. Dendrochronologia. 30: 11-14.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.dendro.2011.02.002
Trees can reach ages that in some cases amount to thousands of years. In the Mediterranean region, olive trees (Olea europaea) have traditionally been considered a particularly long-lived species. The main objective of this study was to assess the age of large olive trees considered to be millenarian and classified as monumental trees in northeastern Spain. We extracted cores of 14 individuals and obtained 8 sections of trees which had already been cut in the area where the largest olive trees in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula are found. The age of the sampled olive trees was assessed by counting the number of annual growth rings. Tree rings did not cross-date well, neither within nor between individuals, but boundaries between likely annual rings were clearly distinct. We found a linear relationship between DBH and tree age (in years) (Age=2.11×diameter(cm)+88.93, R2=0.80), which was used to estimate the age of unsampled olive trees. The maximum estimated age (627±110 years) is among the greatest ages reported for olive trees around the world (700 years) and among the oldest trees in Mediterranean ecosystems. © 2011 Istituto Italiano di Dendrocronologia.
Choat B., Jansen S., Brodribb T.J., Cochard H., Delzon S., Bhaskar R., Bucci S.J., Feild T.S., Gleason S.M., Hacke U.G., Jacobsen A.L., Lens F., Maherali H., Martínez-Vilalta J., Mayr S., Mencuccini M., Mitchell P.J., Nardini A., Pittermann J., Pratt R.B., Sperry J.S., Westoby M., Wright I.J., Zanne A.E. (2012) Global convergence in the vulnerability of forests to drought. Nature. 491: 752-755.EnllaçDoi: 10.1038/nature11688
Shifts in rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures associated with climate change are likely to cause widespread forest decline in regions where droughts are predicted to increase in duration and severity. One primary cause of productivity loss and plant mortality during drought is hydraulic failure. Drought stress creates trapped gas emboli in the water transport system, which reduces the ability of plants to supply water to leaves for photosynthetic gas exchange and can ultimately result in desiccation and mortality. At present we lack a clear picture of how thresholds to hydraulic failure vary across a broad range of species and environments, despite many individual experiments. Here we draw together published and unpublished data on the vulnerability of the transport system to drought-induced embolism for a large number of woody species, with a view to examining the likely consequences of climate change for forest biomes. We show that 70% of 226 forest species from 81 sites worldwide operate with narrow (
Galiano L., Martínez-Vilalta J., Sabaté S., Lloret F. (2012) Determinants of drought effects on crown condition and their relationship with depletion of carbon reserves in a Mediterranean holm oak forest. Tree Physiology. 32: 478-489.EnllaçDoi: 10.1093/treephys/tps025
Severe droughts may increase physiological stress on long-lived woody vegetation, occasionally leading to rapid defoliation and progressive increase in mortality of overstorey trees. Over the last few years, episodes of drought-induced tree dieback have been documented in a variety of woodlands and forests around the world. However, the factors determining tree survival and subsequent recovery are still poorly understood, especially in resprouter species. We have studied the effects of a single drought episode on crown condition in a holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) forest located in NE Spain 7 years after the drought event. Generalized linear models were used to study the environmental correlates of forest crown condition 7 years after the drought event. Additionally, we evaluated the association between crown condition and the carbon and nutrient reserves stored in lignotubers 7 years after the drought. Our study reveals the multifactor nature of a drought-driven forest dieback in which soil depth and the characteristics of individual trees, particularly their number of stems, determined a complex spatial pattern of tree-level responses. This dieback was associated with a depletion of the carbon reserves in lignotubers 7 years after the episode, representing a reduction of up to 60 in highly drought-damaged trees. Interestingly, in the absence of new acute droughts, successive surveys in 2007-11 showed a direct association between carbon reserves depletion and further deterioration of crown condition. More frequent droughts, as predicted by climate change projections, may lead to a progressive depletion of carbon reserves and to a loss of resilience in Mediterranean resprouter species. © 2012 The Author.
Hereş A.-M., Martínez-Vilalta J., López B.C. (2012) Growth patterns in relation to drought-induced mortality at two Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) sites in NE Iberian Peninsula. Trees - Structure and Function. 26: 621-630.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s00468-011-0628-9
Drought-related tree mortality has become a widespread phenomenon. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is a boreal species with high ecological amplitude that reaches its southwestern limit in the Iberian Peninsula. Thus, Iberian Scots pine populations are particularly good models to study the effects of the increase in aridity predicted by climate change models. A total of 78 living and 39 dead Scots pines trees were sampled at two sites located in the NE of the Iberian Peninsula, where recent mortality events have been recorded. Annual tree rings were used to (1) date dead trees; (2) investigate if there was an association between the occurrence of tree death and severe drought periods characterized by exceptionally low ratios of summer precipitation to potential evapotranspiration (P/PET); and (3) to compare the growth patterns of trees that died with those of surviving ones. Mixed models were used to describe the relationships between tree growth (in terms of basal area increment, BAI, and the percentage of latewood, LW%) and climate variables. Our results showed a direct association between Scots pine mortality and severe drought periods characterized by low summer water availability. At the two sites, the growth patterns of dead trees were clearly distinguishable from those of the trees that survived. In particular, the BAI of dead trees was more sensitive to climate dryness (low P/PET summer, high temperatures) and started to decline below the values of surviving neighbors 15-40 years before the time of death, implying a slow process of growth decline preceding mortality. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Martínez-Vilalta J (2012) Envelleixen, els arbres? Omnis Cellula 28: 4.
Martínez-Vilalta J (2012) Drought responses of Scots pine at the dry limit. Research seminar: Disturbance and resilience in Mediterranean forest ecosystems, CTFC, Solsona, 8 June 2012. (Comunicació oral convidada).
Martínez-Vilalta J (2012) Xylem physiology (and the functional implications of the structure of the xylem network. The significance of xylem hydraulic plasticity for reconstructing past environments. Kippel, Switzerland, 15-17 May 2012. (Comunicació oral convidada).
Sala A, Martínez-Vilalta J, Lloret F (2012) What do we know about the role and regulation of non-structural carbon compounds stored in trees? AGU Fall Meeting, Francisco, United States of America, 3-7 December 2012. (comunicació oral).
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