Historical and event-based bioclimatic suitability predicts regional forest vulnerability to compound effects of severe drought and bark beetle infestation

Lloret F., Kitzberger T. (2018) Historical and event-based bioclimatic suitability predicts regional forest vulnerability to compound effects of severe drought and bark beetle infestation. Global Change Biology. 24: 1952-1964.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/gcb.14039

Abstract:

Vulnerability to climate change, and particularly to climate extreme events, is expected to vary across species ranges. Thus, we need tools to standardize the variability in regional climatic legacy and extreme climate across populations and species. Extreme climate events (e.g., droughts) can erode populations close to the limits of species' climatic tolerance. Populations in climatic-core locations may also become vulnerable because they have developed a greater demand for resources (i.e., water) that cannot be enough satisfied during the periods of scarcity. These mechanisms can become exacerbated in tree populations when combined with antagonistic biotic interactions, such as insect infestation. We used climatic suitability indices derived from Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to standardize the climatic conditions experienced across Pinus edulis populations in southwestern North America, during a historical period (1972–2000) and during an extreme event (2001–2007), when the compound effect of hot drought and bark beetle infestation caused widespread die-off and mortality. Pinus edulis climatic suitability diminished dramatically during the die-off period, with remarkable variation between years. P. edulis die-off occurred mainly not just in sites that experienced lower climatic suitability during the drought but also where climatic suitability was higher during the historical period. The combined effect of historically high climatic suitability and a marked decrease in the climatic suitability during the drought best explained the range-wide mortality. Lagged effects of climatic suitability loss in previous years and co-occurrence of Juniperus monosperma also explained P. edulis die-off in particular years. Overall, the study shows that past climatic legacy, likely determining acclimation, together with competitive interactions plays a major role in responses to extreme drought. It also provides a new approach to standardize the magnitude of climatic variability across populations using SDMs, improving our capacity to predict population's or species' vulnerability to climatic change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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Non-structural carbohydrate dynamics associated with drought-induced die-off in woody species of a shrubland community

Lloret F., Sapes G., Rosas T., Galiano L., Saura-Mas S., Sala A., Martínez-Vilalta J. (2018) Non-structural carbohydrate dynamics associated with drought-induced die-off in woody species of a shrubland community. Annals of Botany. 121: 1383-1396.
Link
Doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy039

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Background and Aims The relationship between plant carbon economy and drought responses of co-occurring woody species can be assessed by comparing carbohydrate (C) dynamics following drought and rain periods, relating these dynamics to species' functional traits. We studied nine woody species coexisting in a continental Mediterranean shrubland that experienced severe drought effects followed by rain. Methods We measured total non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and soluble sugars (SS) in roots and stems during drought and after an autumn rain pulse in plants exhibiting leaf loss and in undefoliated ones. We explored whether their dynamics were related to foliage recovery and functional traits (height [H], specific leaf area [SLA], wood density [WD]). Key Results During drought, NSC concentrations were overall lower in stems and roots of plants experiencing leaf loss, while SS decreases were smaller. Roots had higher NSC concentrations than stems. After the rain, NSC concentrations continued to decrease, while SS increased. Green foliage recovered after rain, particularly in plants previously experiencing higher leaf loss, independently of NSC concentrations during drought. Species with lower WD tended to have more SS during drought and lower SS increases after rain. In low-WD species, plants with severe leaf loss had lower NSC relative to undefoliated ones. No significant relationship was found between H or SLA and C content or dynamics. Conclusions Our community-level study reveals that, while responses were species-specific, C stocks overall diminished in plants affected by prolonged drought and did not increase after a pulse of seasonal rain. Dynamics were faster for SS than NSC. We found limited depletion of SS, consistent with their role in basal metabolic, transport and signalling functions. In a scenario of increased drought under climate change, NSC stocks in woody plants are expected to decrease differentially in coexisting species, with potential implications for their adaptive abilities and community dynamics. © The Author(s) 2018.

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Remote sensing of canopy nitrogen at regional scale in Mediterranean forests using the spaceborne MERIS terrestrial chlorophyll index

Loozen Y., Rebel K.T., Karssenberg D., Wassen M.J., Sardans J., Peñuelas J., De Jong S.M. (2018) Remote sensing of canopy nitrogen at regional scale in Mediterranean forests using the spaceborne MERIS terrestrial chlorophyll index. Biogeosciences. 15: 2723-2742.
Link
Doi: 10.5194/bg-15-2723-2018

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Canopy nitrogen (N) concentration and content are linked to several vegetation processes. Therefore, canopy N concentration is a state variable in global vegetation models with coupled carbon (C) and N cycles. While there are ample C data available to constrain the models, widespread N data are lacking. Remotely sensed vegetation indices have been used to detect canopy N concentration and canopy N content at the local scale in grasslands and forests. Vegetation indices could be a valuable tool to detect canopy N concentration and canopy N content at larger scale. In this paper, we conducted a regional case-study analysis to investigate the relationship between the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI) time series from European Space Agency (ESA) Envisat satellite at 1ĝ€km spatial resolution and both canopy N concentration (%N) and canopy N content (Nĝ€gĝ€mĝ'2, of ground area) from a Mediterranean forest inventory in the region of Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain. The relationships between the datasets were studied after resampling both datasets to lower spatial resolutions (20, 15, 10 and 5ĝ€km) and at the original spatial resolution of 1ĝ€km. The results at higher spatial resolution (1ĝ€km) yielded significant log-linear relationships between MTCI and both canopy N concentration and content: r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.32 and r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.17, respectively. We also investigated these relationships per plant functional type. While the relationship between MTCI and canopy N concentration was strongest for deciduous broadleaf and mixed plots (r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.24 and r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.44, respectively), the relationship between MTCI and canopy N content was strongest for evergreen needleleaf trees (r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.19). At the species level, canopy N concentration was strongly related to MTCI for European beech plots (r2ĝ€ Combining double low line ĝ€0.69). These results present a new perspective on the application of MTCI time series for canopy N detection. © Author(s) 2018.

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Global and regional phosphorus budgets in agricultural systems and their implications for phosphorus-use efficiency

Lun, F., Liu, J., Ciais, P., Nesme, T., Chang, J., Wang, R., Goll, D., Sardans, J., Peñuelas, J., Obersteiner, M. (2018) Global and regional phosphorus budgets in agricultural systems and their implications for phosphorus-use efficiency. Earth System Science Data. 10: 1-18.
Link
Doi: 10.5194/essd-10-1-2018

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Higher capability of C3 than C4 plants to use nitrogen inferred from nitrogen stable isotopes along an aridity gradient

Luo W., Wang X., Sardans J., Wang Z., Dijkstra F.A., Lü X.-T., Peñuelas J., Han X. (2018) Higher capability of C3 than C4 plants to use nitrogen inferred from nitrogen stable isotopes along an aridity gradient. Plant and Soil. : 1-11.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s11104-018-3661-2

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Background and aims: The nitrogen isotope composition (δ15N) of plants in arid and semiarid grasslands is affected by environmental factors, especially water availability. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether the response of δ15N to water availability differs between C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways. Methods: We investigated plant δ15N of coexisting C3 and C4 species as a function of aridity along a 3200 km aridity gradient across the arid and semi-arid grasslands of northern China. Results: Aridity was positively correlated with plant δ15N values in both C3 and C4 plants and also in the entire plant community, whereas soil bulk δ15N values increased first and then decreased along the aridity gradient. The N uptake by C4 plants appeared to be more affected by competition pressure of neighboring plants and soil microbes than for C3 plants along the transect. Conclusions: The decoupled relationship between plant and soil δ15N values indicated that variations in vegetation and soil δ15N values were driven by differential biogeochemical processes, while different soil N sources were used for plant growth along the climatic gradient. The advantage of C3 plants in the use of N may counteract the competitive advantage that C4 plants have over C3 plants due to their higher water use efficiency under drier conditions. These findings can help understand why C4 plants do not completely replace C3 plants in drier environments despite their higher water use efficiency. © 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature

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Effects of extreme drought on plant nutrient uptake and resorption in rhizomatous vs bunchgrass-dominated grasslands

Luo W., Xu C., Ma W., Yue X., Liang X., Zuo X., Knapp A.K., Smith M.D., Sardans J., Dijkstra F.A., Peñuelas J., Bai Y., Wang Z., Yu Q., Han X. (2018) Effects of extreme drought on plant nutrient uptake and resorption in rhizomatous vs bunchgrass-dominated grasslands. Oecologia. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s00442-018-4232-1

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Both the dominance and the mass ratio hypotheses predict that plant internal nutrient cycling in ecosystems is determined by the dominant species within plant communities. We tested this hypothesis under conditions of extreme drought by assessing plant nutrient (N, P and K) uptake and resorption in response to experimentally imposed precipitation reductions in two semiarid grasslands of northern China. These two communities shared similar environmental conditions, but had different dominant species—one was dominated by a rhizomatous grass (Leymus chinensis) and the other by a bunchgrass (Stipa grandis). Results showed that responses of N to drought differed between the two communities with drought decreasing green leaf N concentration and resorption in the community dominated by the rhizomatous grass, but not in the bunchgrass-dominated community. In contrast, negative effects of drought on green leaf P and K concentrations and their resorption efficiencies were consistent across the two communities. Additionally, in each community, the effects of extreme drought on soil N, P and K supply did not change synchronously with that on green leaf N, P and K concentrations, and senesced leaf N, P and K concentrations showed no response to extreme drought. Consistent with the dominance/mass ratio hypothesis, our findings suggest that differences in dominant species and their growth form (i.e., rhizomatous vs bunch grass) play an important nutrient-specific role in mediating plant internal nutrient cycling across communities within a single region. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

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Geothermally warmed soils reveal persistent increases in the respiratory costs of soil microbes contributing to substantial C losses

Marañón-Jiménez S., Soong J.L., Leblans N.I.W., Sigurdsson B.D., Peñuelas J., Richter A., Asensio D., Fransen E., Janssens I.A. (2018) Geothermally warmed soils reveal persistent increases in the respiratory costs of soil microbes contributing to substantial C losses. Biogeochemistry. : 1-16.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s10533-018-0443-0

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Increasing temperatures can accelerate soil organic matter decomposition and release large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, potentially inducing positive warming feedbacks. Alterations to the temperature sensitivity and physiological functioning of soil microorganisms may play a key role in these carbon (C) losses. Geothermally active areas in Iceland provide stable and continuous soil temperature gradients to test this hypothesis, encompassing the full range of warming scenarios projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the northern region. We took soils from these geothermal sites 7 years after the onset of warming and incubated them at varying temperatures and substrate availability conditions to detect persistent alterations of microbial physiology to long-term warming. Seven years of continuous warming ranging from 1.8 to 15.9 °C triggered a 8.6–58.0% decrease on the C concentrations in the topsoil (0–10 cm) of these sub-arctic silt-loam Andosols. The sensitivity of microbial respiration to temperature (Q10) was not altered. However, soil microbes showed a persistent increase in their microbial metabolic quotients (microbial respiration per unit of microbial biomass) and a subsequent diminished C retention in biomass. After an initial depletion of labile soil C upon soil warming, increasing energy costs of metabolic maintenance and resource acquisition led to a weaker capacity of C stabilization in the microbial biomass of warmer soils. This mechanism contributes to our understanding of the acclimated response of soil respiration to in situ soil warming at the ecosystem level, despite a lack of acclimation at the physiological level. Persistent increases in the respiratory costs of soil microbes in response to warming constitute a fundamental process that should be incorporated into climate change-C cycling models. © 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature

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Revisiting the role of high-energy Pacific events in the environmental and cultural history of Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Margalef O., Álvarez-Gómez J.A., Pla-Rabes S., Cañellas-Boltà N., Rull V., Sáez A., Geyer A., Peñuelas J., Sardans J., Giralt S. (2018) Revisiting the role of high-energy Pacific events in the environmental and cultural history of Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Geographical Journal. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/geoj.12253

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Pacific islands are spread over thousands of kilometres of the Pacific Basin and are characterised by similar ecological features but very diverse geologic origins, from steep volcanoes to flat coral atolls. Several climatic phases have been shared across the region within the last 1,000 years. Numerous and abrupt societal and cultural changes during the same period have been described for islands separated by thousands of kilometres. Conspicuous societal changes have been exclusively attributed to the main climatic patterns (changes in precipitation and temperature). The possible role of tsunamis and the occurrence of large volcanic eruptions as regional societal modulators, however, have traditionally received little attention from archaeologists, mainly due to the difficulty of recognising them in the sedimentary and geomorphological records. We explore the potential influence of the most important high-energy events in the Pacific on Polynesian societal changes, with a special focus on Easter Island. For example, the extreme Samalas eruption in AD 1257 may have been an indirect driver of the sudden population decline, land degradation and decreased food resources on many Pacific islands between AD 1250 and 1300, and the Kuwae eruption in AD 1450 may have triggered the synchronous end of long voyaging expeditions across the Pacific. Important palaeo-tsunamis have had unquestionable impacts on coastal and seafaring societies. A direct effect of the main eruptions of the last millennia (AD 1257 and 1453) on Easter Island has not yet been identified by any record, but we have calculated the likelihood of destructive tsunamis with an estimated period of recurrence for large events of less than a century. This insight is new and needs to be taken into account to complement what we already know about Easter Island's cultural history and archaeological sites, especially those in vulnerable coastal locations. © 2018 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

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The rear window: Structural and functional plasticity in tree responses to climate change inferred from growth rings

Martínez-Vilalta J. (2018) The rear window: Structural and functional plasticity in tree responses to climate change inferred from growth rings. Tree Physiology. 38: 155-158.
Link
Doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpy008

Abstract:

[No abstract available]

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Exploring the links between social metabolism and biodiversity distribution across landscape gradients: A regional-scale contribution to the land-sharing versus land-sparing debate

Marull, J., Tello, E., Bagaria, G., Font, X., Cattaneo, C., Pino, J. (2018) Exploring the links between social metabolism and biodiversity distribution across landscape gradients: A regional-scale contribution to the land-sharing versus land-sparing debate. Science of the Total Environment. 619-620: 1272-1285.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.196

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