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Changes in land use and physiological transitions of a Juniperus Thurifera forest: From decline to recovery

AutorMontesinos, D. ; Fabado, Javier
Palabras claveForest decline
Land abandonment
Juniperus thurifera
Global change
Forest management
Fecha de publicación26-feb-2015
EditorNRC Research Press
CitaciónCanadian Journal of Forest Research 45(6): 764-769 (2015)
ResumenAll Rights Reserved. Forest decline is frequently associated with infection; however, infections habitually affect trees that have been previously debilitated by environmental stress. Nevertheless, the causes and physiology of noninfectious forest decline are not well known. Some Juniperus thurifera L. forests presented severe (noninfectious) declines, with defoliations over 50%. The goal of this study was to determine the causes and characterize the physiology of this noninfectious decline, and we hypothesized that it could be related to environmental stress from increasing interspecific competition resulting from land abandonment. We randomly assigned60 trees to either a control group or one of two competition-release treatments, i.e., vegetation clearing or soil ploughing. We characterized the physiological state of the trees both before treatment application and 14 months after treatment application. The J. thurifera trees that were declining experienced significantly lower soil nutrient and water availability, which resulted in lower leaf nutrient concentrations, lower photosynthetic rates, higher water stress, and arrested growth and reproduction. We confirmed that competition release increased nutrient availability and acquisition, reduced water deficit, improved photosynthetic rates, and abruptly stopped defoliation. Competition plays an increasingly critical role in forest conservation, particularly with the reported increase in the number of species colonizing previously unfeasible habitats due to global change and the absence of traditional activities that used to buffer competition. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2014-0468
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/140903
DOI10.1139/cjfr-2014-0468
Identificadoresissn: 1208-6037
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