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Evapotranspiration deficit controls net primary production and growth of silver fir: Implications for Circum-Mediterranean forests under forecasted warmer and drier conditions

AutorVicente Serrano, Sergio M. ; Camarero, Jesús Julio ; Zabalza, Javier ; Sangüesa-Barreda, G. ; López-Moreno, Juan I. ; Tague, Christina L.
Palabras claveSilver fir
Drought stress
Regional hydro-ecological simulation system (RHESSys)
Abies alba
Climate warming
Fecha de publicación2015
CitaciónAgricultural and Forest Meteorology 206: 45-54 (2015)
ResumenWarming-induced drought stress has been hypothesized as a major driver of forest net primary production (NPP) reduction, but we lack reliable field data to assess if higher temperatures lead to forest NPP reduction, particularly in humid sites and at basin to landscape spatial scales. The use of a landscape approach would allow considering the feedbacks operating between climate, topography, soil vegetation and water resources. Here we follow that approach by simulating NPP using the regional hydro-ecologic simulation system (RHESSys) model and by comparing the results with radial growth data (tree-ring widths and intrinsic water-use efficiency - iWUE). We evaluate the relationships between climate, growth, NPP, atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ca) and iWUE in xeric and mesic silver fir forests subjected to contrasting water balances. The growth data successfully validated the 11-month NPP cumulated until spring. The main negative climatic driver of growth and NPP was the summer evapotranspiration deficit, which shows a negative association with tree-ring width indices. Sensitivity analyses indicate that rising ca do not compensate the severe NPP reduction associated to warmer and drier conditions. The positive effect of rising ca on NPP is mediated by climatic site conditions being detected only in mesic sites, whereas the negative effects of drought on NPP override any ca-related enhancement of NPP in xeric sites. Future warmer and drier conditions causing a higher evaporative demand by the atmosphere could lead to a NPP decline in temperate conifer forests subjected to episodic droughts. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.02.017
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.02.017
issn: 0168-1923
e-issn: 1873-2240
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