The dependency of the size-growth relationship of Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) in forest stands on long-term site conditions, drought events, and ozone stress

Trees (Impact Factor: 1.65). 06/2010; 25(3):355-369. DOI: 10.1007/s00468-010-0510-1


Against a backdrop of increasing climate change, the effects of site conditions, drought events and ozone stress on the size-growth
relationship in Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica [L.]) stands are analyzed. The size-growth relationship is represented by a straight line defined by intercept and slope
of a simple linear equation with stem diameter at height 1.30m as independent variable and annual stem diameter increment
at height 1.30 as dependent variable. On the basis of 64 long-term experimental plots dating back to 1871 and representing
an ecological gradient from fertile to poor sites, it is shown that poorer sites exhibit shallower slopes of the linear size-growth
relationships than fertile sites. Annual measurements of the size-growth relationship, including the extremely dry years of
1976 and 2003, also showed that lower stand growth rates result in shallower size-growth relationship slopes. By comparing
stands with and without experimental twice-ambient ozone exposure between 2000 and 2007, it was found that ozone stress can
significantly reduce the slope of the size-growth relationship. This indicates that limiting site condition, whether acute
or chronic in nature, distinctly reduces the superiority of tall trees, and that a lower degree of resource limitation increases
the steepness of the size-growth relationship. The causes for this behavior and the consequences for stand dynamics, silvicultural
treatment and prognostication by models are discussed.

KeywordsSize-asymmetric growth–Diameter increment–Competition–Resource partitioning–Limitation–Allocation principle–Stand structure

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Available from: Jochen Dieler, Apr 03, 2015
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    • "Typically, site and tree selection are intended to enhance the climate signal (Cook and Kairiukstis, 1990; Schweingruber, 1996). However, trees show divergent climate–growth associations from their neighbours within a stand, because growth responsiveness to climate depends on site and tree characteristics like forest composition (Pretzsch and Dieler, 2011), tree-to-tree competition intensity (Linares et al., 2010) or tree age and size (Carrer and Urbinati, 2004; Martín-Benito et al., 2008; Szeicz and MacDonald, 1994). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stands and trees may exhibit different climate–growth responses compared to neighbouring forests and individuals. The study of these differences is crucial to understanding the effects of climate change on the growth and vulnerability of forests and trees. In this research we analyse the growth responsiveness of primary Norway spruce forests to climate as a function of different stand (elevation, aspect, slope, crowding, historic disturbance regime) and tree (age, tree-to-tree competition) features in the Romanian Carpathians. Climate–growth relationships were analysed using Pearson correlation coefficients between ring-width indices (RWIs) and climate variables. The influence of stand and tree characteristics on the RWI responses to climate were investigated using linear mixed-effects models. Elevation greatly modulated the climate–growth associations and it frequently interacted with competition intensity or tree age to differentially influence growth responsiveness to climate. Old trees were more sensitive to climate than young trees, but while old tree’s response to climate highly depended on elevation (e.g. positive influence of summer temperature on old trees’ RWIs at high elevations, but negative effect at low elevations), differences of the young trees’ response across the elevation gradient were less evident. The severity of the past disturbance also modified the climate–growth associations because of contrasting canopy structures. Our results suggest that although an increase in temperature might enhance growth at high elevations, it may also induce growth declines due to drought stress at lower elevations, particularly for old trees or trees growing under high levels of competition, which may increase their vulnerability to disturbances.
    10/2015; 354:77-86. DOI:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.06.034
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    • "Modification of stress response by site, thinning, tree, and stand characteristics Site, stand density, thinning, individual crown volume, and social class can affect growth response under drought stress (Pretzsch and Dieler 2011). Site played a crucial role in our investigation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Climate change in Central Europe may come along with acute drought stress, which can severely reduce growth and vitality of forest trees and whole stands. For a tree species such as Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) which is cultivated far beyond its natural range in Europe, knowledge of its behaviour under stress is crucial for the cultivation of Douglas-fir in view of a changing climate. Because of its easy accessibility, growth response to stress was mainly studied based on diameter growth at breast height. In long-term experiments on one dry and one moist site in Southern Germany, stem analyses of 133 mature and even-aged Douglas-firs were performed. The short-term growth reaction pattern under acute drought stress of 2003 had not only consequences on diameter but more pronounced effects can be observed when studying tree height: Respecting the different age trends by previous detrending, height increment only reacted more sensitive on the dry site. We also showed that extrapolating a particular decline in basal area increment to the whole stem can result in misunderstandings. However, results were less biased, when original data were smoothed or short-term assessment of volume growth was based on basal area measurements. By means of a linear mixed model approach, the influence of site, tree, and stand characteristics on Lloret’s indices of resistance and resilience (Lloret et al. in Oikos 120:1909–1920. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19372.x, 2011) were analysed. For Douglas-fir, site played a crucial role and became more important considering the age trend. On the contrary, the positive influence of site quality on drought tolerance decreased with data processing. However, more growing space by thinning can advance tree resistance and resilience regarding height, diameter, and volume growth. Large individual crown volume improved the growth pattern under drought, and large stand density impaired it. Douglas-fir is obviously equipped with a morphological variability, which fosters lateral rather than vertical growth allocation under severe stress. Silviculture can mitigate stress through the choice of the site and through lower stand densities by thinning. Our refined stress response analysis confirmed a favourable growth and resilience of Douglas-fir even under extreme drought events.
    European Journal of Forest Research 06/2014; 133(6). DOI:10.1007/s10342-014-0821-7 · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    • "where a and q are the intercept and slope parameters, respectively, specific to a given growth interval, and c is the error term. This approach has been used frequently to distinguish between linear, size-proportional and non-linear, size-disproportional increase in growth rate, and to infer an alternative mode of plant interference (Dolezal et al. 2004; Metsaranta and Lieffers 2010; Pretzsch and Dieler 2011). Under this model, if plants grow in proportion to their sizes (q 1 = 1), thereby depleting limited resources without any individual obtaining a monopoly, then competitive interactions among them are weak and symmetric; if larger individuals grow disproportionately more than others (q [ 1), thereby pre-empting resources at the expense of smaller plants, then competition is intense and positively size-asymmetric, further increasing size inequality. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) is a weed of great significance in Australia and worldwide, but little is known about connections among components of its life history. We document over a 3-year period, the links between L. camara seed-bank dynamics and its above-ground growth, including size asymmetry in four land-use types (a farm, a hoop pine plantation and two open eucalypt forests) invaded by the weed near Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Seed-bank populations varied appreciably across sites and in response to rainfall and control measures, and they were higher (~1,000 seeds/m2) when annual rainfall was 15–30 % below the long-term yearly average. Fire reduced seed-bank populations but not the proportion germinating (6–8 %). Nearly a quarter of fresh seeds remain germinable after 3 years of soil burial. For small seedlings (<10 cm high), the expected trade-offs in two life-history traits—survival and growth—did not apply; rather the observed positive association between these two traits, coupled with a persistent seed-bank population could contribute to the invasiveness of the plant. Relationships between absolute growth rate and initial plant size (crown volume) were positively linear, suggesting that most populations are still at varying stages of the exponential phase of the sigmoid growth; this trend also suggests that at most sites and despite increasing stand density and limiting environmental resources of light and soil moisture, lantana growth is inversely size asymmetric. From the observed changes in measures of plant size inequality, asymmetric competition appeared limited in all the infestations surveyed.
    Plant Ecology 05/2013; 214(5). DOI:10.1007/s11258-013-0202-1 · 1.46 Impact Factor
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