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Past logging, drought and pathogens interact and contribute to forest dieback

AuthorsSangüesa-Barreda, G. ; Camarero, Jesús Julio ; Oliva, Jonás; Montes, Fernando; Gazol Burgos, Antonio
Keywordsclimate warming
drought stress
forest die-off
Abies alba
Issue Date2015
CitationAgricultural and Forest Meteorology 208: 85-94 (2015)
AbstractForest dieback is one of the most widespread responses to global-change drivers, such as climate warming-related drought stress and the spread of pathogens. Although both climatic and biotic stressors have been studied separately, much less is known on how drought and pathogens interact and induce dieback, particularly in formerly used forests. We determine the roles played by each of those drivers as factors causing recent dieback in three Pyrenean silver fir stands: a managed site subjected to past logging and two unmanaged sites not logged for the past 50 years. The age, size, recent competition, and basal-area increment (BAI) trends of non-declining and declining trees, and the presence of fungal pathogens were investigated. Growth patterns at yearly to decadal time scales were compared to distinguish the roles and interactions played by the different stressors. In the managed site, declining trees displayed low growth already before logging (1950-1970s). In both unmanaged sites, declining and non-declining trees displayed divergent growth patterns after extreme droughts, indicating that dieback was triggered by severe water deficit. We did not find indications that fungal pathogens are the primary drivers of dieback, since a low proportion of declining trees were infested by primary pathogens (10%). However, trees with the primary fungal pathogen Heterobasidion showed lower BAI than non-declining trees. On the other hand, the secondary fungal pathogen Amylostereum was isolated from a higher number of trees than expected by chance. These findings highlight the importance of legacies, such as the past use in driving recent forest dieback. Past forest use could predispose to dieback by selecting slow-growing trees and thus, making some them more vulnerable to drought and fungal pathogens. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.04.011
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.04.011
issn: 0168-1923
Appears in Collections:(IPE) Artículos
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