Strong resilience of soil respiration components to drought-induced die-off resulting in forest secondary succession

Barba J., Curiel Yuste J., Poyatos R., Janssens I.A., Lloret F. (2016) Strong resilience of soil respiration components to drought-induced die-off resulting in forest secondary succession. Oecologia. 182: 27-41.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s00442-016-3567-8

Abstract:

How forests cope with drought-induced perturbations and how the dependence of soil respiration on environmental and biological drivers is affected in a warming and drying context are becoming key questions. The aims of this study were to determine whether drought-induced die-off and forest succession were reflected in soil respiration and its components and to determine the influence of climate on the soil respiration components. We used the mesh exclusion method to study seasonal variations in soil respiration (RS) and its components: heterotrophic (RH) and autotrophic (RA) [further split into fine root (RR) and mycorrhizal respiration (RM)] in a mixed Mediterranean forest where Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is undergoing a drought-induced die-off and is being replaced by holm oak (Quercus ilex L.). Drought-induced pine die-off was not reflected in RS nor in its components, which denotes a high functional resilience of the plant and soil system to pine die-off. However, the succession from Scots pine to holm oak resulted in a reduction of RH and thus in an important decrease of total respiration (RS was 36 % lower in holm oaks than in non-defoliated pines). Furthermore, RS and all its components were strongly regulated by soil water content-and-temperature interaction. Since Scots pine die-off and Quercus species colonization seems to be widely occurring at the driest limit of the Scots pine distribution, the functional resilience of the soil system over die-off and the decrease of RS from Scots pine to holm oak could have direct consequences for the C balance of these ecosystems. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Effects of drought-induced forest die-off on litter decomposition

Barba J., Lloret F., Yuste J.C. (2016) Effects of drought-induced forest die-off on litter decomposition. Plant and Soil. 402: 91-101.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s11104-015-2762-4

Abstract:

Aims: Drought-induced forest die-off and subsequent species replacement may modify environmental conditions and eventually affect litter decomposition. We aimed to disentangle the effects of tree species and die-off state on litter decomposition in a mixed forest where Pinus sylvestris populations experiencing severe drought-induced die-off are being replaced by Quercus ilex. Methods: Litter bags with leaves and fine roots from both species were placed under canopies representing three habitats of the die-off and replacement process (healthy and dead P. sylvestris and healthy Q. ilex). Mass was assessed over 3 years. Results: Species-specific chemistry of litter (C:N ratio) had a direct effect on mass loss, but also indirect effects, attributed to the decomposer microbial community associated with a given habitat-species. In their respective original habitats, oak leaves decomposed 44 % faster than pine needles, whereas oak roots decomposed 46 % slower than pine roots. Conclusions: Forest die-off and species replacement affected litter decomposition. This effect can have great implications in forest functioning, particularly if drought-induced die-off worsens in the next decades, according with the trend observed in the studied system. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

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Time variable hydraulic parameters improve the performance of a mechanistic stand transpiration model. A case study of Mediterranean Scots pine sap flow data assimilation

Sus O., Poyatos R., Barba J., Carvalhais N., Llorens P., Williams M., Vilalta J.M. (2014) Time variable hydraulic parameters improve the performance of a mechanistic stand transpiration model. A case study of Mediterranean Scots pine sap flow data assimilation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 198: 168-180.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2014.08.009

Abstract:

Tree transpiration is regulated by short-term physiological adjustments and long-term shifts in hydraulic architecture in response to fluctuating evaporative demand and water supply. Despite the tight interdependence of plant water loss and carbon uptake and its crucial implications for plant growth and survival under drought conditions, the underlying mechanisms remain incompletely represented in most state-of-the-art mechanistic models. Important process information is resolved in tree transpiration (sap flow) data, which are the measurable outcome of water transport through the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum under variable environmental conditions. Here, we assimilated sap flow data measured in two Scots pine stands from climatically contrasting sites - one of which experiencing a strong drought during the study period - in NE Spain into a process-based ecophysiological model (SPA) using the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) in order to: (1) distinguish differences in hydraulic characteristics between sites and between healthy and defoliated individuals within a site; (2) identify possible structural model deficiencies, particularly regarding temporal changes in plant hydraulic conductance which the model assumes constant; and (3) derive implications for gross photosynthesis and carbon cycling. In terms of stomatal control, the assimilation of sap flow data into SPA showed a more conservative water use under dry conditions. Time-varying plant conductivity substantially improved model performance under severe drought, while seasonally varying capacitance and stomatal efficiency only resulted in marginal improvements. Not accounting for this seasonal variability would translate into a 30-60% overestimation of modelled GPP during drought. Our results suggest that an explicit representation of mechanisms leading to temporal changes in hydraulic conductivity (i.e., xylem embolism) is required for models to reproduce tree functioning under extreme drought.

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Drought-induced tree species replacement is reflected in the spatial variability of soil respiration in a mixed Mediterranean forest

Barba J., Curiel Yuste J., Martinez-Vilalta J., Lloret F. (2013) Drought-induced tree species replacement is reflected in the spatial variability of soil respiration in a mixed Mediterranean forest. Forest Ecology and Management. 306: 79-87.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.06.025

Abstract:

As episodes of drought-induced forest mortality are being increasingly reported worldwide and may become more frequent in the future as a result of climate change, it is essential to characterize their functional implications in terms of ecosystem carbon and water fluxes. We investigated the spatial variability of soil respiration in a mixed Mediterranean forest located on rugged terrain, where Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is affected by drought-induced dieback and appears to have been replaced by Holm oak (Quercus ilex) as the dominant tree species. Soil respiration was measured in spring 2010 on two plots (16.2×16.2m) using a static closed chamber method (soda lime technique) and a systematic sampling (1.8-m grid) including 100 points per plot. Biotic and abiotic variables, such as soil moisture, soil temperature, soil organic matter content, stoniness, pH, fine root C:N ratio and biomass, tree basal area and tree species and health condition of nearest neighbouring tree were also recorded. Our results showed that the spatial variability of soil respiration under optimal environmental conditions (spring) was high and showed no spatial autocorrelation on the scale studied (1-18m). A mixed-effects model applied to explain the spatial variability of soil respiration indicated that only the variables related to forest structure (i.e., health condition and basal area) explained any of the observed variability of soil respiration (R2=0.45). Our model revealed that soil respiration was highest in soils close to dead pines and under Holm oak trees, suggesting that tree mortality and species replacement of pine trees by Holm oak may lead to higher soil respiration fluxes. The direct effect of tree mortality on soil respiration may be a transitory response caused by fine root mortality. Furthermore, the fact that tree species replacement as a result of drought-induced die-off is accompanied by concomitant changes in soil respiration has important implications for soil and ecosystem carbon balance. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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Las poblaciones ibéricas de pino albar ante el cambio climático: con la muerte en los talones.

Martínez-Vilalta J, Aguadé D, Banqué M, Barba J, Curiel Yuste J, Galiano L, Garcia N, Gómez M, Heres; AM, López BC, Lloret F, Poyatos R, Retana J, Sus O, Vayreda J, Vilà-Cabrera A (2012) Las poblaciones ibéricas de pino albar ante el cambio climático: con la muerte en los talones. Ecosistemas 21: 15-21.

Las poblaciones ibéricas de pino albar ante el cambio climático: con la muerte en los talones.

Martínez-Vilalta J, Aguadé D, Banqué M, Barba J, Yuste JC, Galiano L, Garcia N, Gómez M, Hereş AM, López BC, Lloret F, Poyatos R, Retana J, Sus O, Vayreda J, Vilà-Cabrera A (2012) Las poblaciones ibéricas de pino albar ante el cambio climático: con la muerte en los talones. Revista Ecosistemas 21: 15–21.

Changes in soil bacterial community triggered by drought-induced gap succession preceded changes in soil C stocks and quality

Yuste J.C., Barba J., Fernandez-Gonzalez A.J., Fernandez-Lopez M., Mattana S., Martinez-Vilalta J., Nolis P., Lloret F. (2012) Changes in soil bacterial community triggered by drought-induced gap succession preceded changes in soil C stocks and quality. Ecology and Evolution. 2: 3016-3031.
Link
Doi: 10.1002/ece3.409

Abstract:

The aim of this study was to understand how drought-induced tree mortality and subsequent secondary succession would affect soil bacterial taxonomic composition as well as soil organic matter (SOM) quantity and quality in a mixed Mediterranean forest where the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) population, affected by climatic drought-induced die-off, is being replaced by Holm-oaks (HO; Quercus ilex). We apply a high throughput DNA pyrosequencing technique and 13C solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (CP-MAS 13C NMR) to soils within areas of influence (defined as an surface with 2-m radius around the trunk) of different trees: healthy and affected (defoliated) pines, pines that died a decade ago and healthy HOs. Soil respiration was also measured in the same spots during a spring campaign using a static close-chamber method (soda lime). A decade after death, and before aerial colonization by the more competitive HOs have even taken place, we could not find changes in soil C pools (quantity and/or quality) associated with tree mortality and secondary succession. Unlike C pools, bacterial diversity and community structure were strongly determined by tree mortality. Convergence between the most abundant taxa of soil bacterial communities under dead pines and colonizer trees (HOs) further suggests that physical gap colonization was occurring below-ground before above-ground colonization was taken place. Significantly higher soil respiration rates under dead trees, together with higher bacterial diversity and anomalously high representation of bacteria commonly associated with copiotrophic environments (r-strategic bacteria) further gives indications of how drought-induced tree mortality and secondary succession were influencing the structure of microbial communities and the metabolic activity of soils.©2012 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Canvis recents en els fluxos d’aigua i carboni a les pinedes de pi roig del bosc de Poblet: implicacions en un escenari de canvi climàtic.

Poyatos R, Martínez-Vilalta J, Poyatos R, Martínez-Vilalta J, Curiel J, Barba J, ,Aguadé D, Mencuccini M,Lloret F (2010) Canvis recents en els fluxos d’aigua i carboni a les pinedes de pi roig del bosc de Poblet: implicacions en un escenari de canvi climàtic. III Jornades sobre el bosc de Poblet i les muntanyes de Prades (en prensa).