Global change biology, 2018-05, Vol.24 (5), p.2143-2158
Forecasted increase drought frequency and severity may drive worldwide declines in forest productivity. Species‐level responses to a drier world are likely to be influenced by their functional traits. Here, we analyse forest resilience to drought using an extensive network of tree‐ring width data and satellite imagery. We compiled proxies of forest growth and productivity (TRWi, absolutely dated ring‐width indices; NDVI, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) for 11 tree species and 502 forests in Spain corresponding to Mediterranean, temperate, and continental biomes. Four different components of forest resilience to drought were calculated based on TRWi and NDVI data before, during, and after four major droughts (1986, 1994–1995, 1999, and 2005), and pointed out that TRWi data were more sensitive metrics of forest resilience to drought than NDVI data. Resilience was related to both drought severity and forest composition. Evergreen gymnosperms dominating semi‐arid Mediterranean forests showed the lowest resistance to drought, but higher recovery than deciduous angiosperms dominating humid temperate forests. Moreover, semi‐arid gymnosperm forests presented a negative temporal trend in the resistance to drought, but this pattern was absent in continental and temperate forests. Although gymnosperms in dry Mediterranean forests showed a faster recovery after drought, their recovery potential could be constrained if droughts become more frequent. Conversely, angiosperms and gymnosperms inhabiting temperate and continental sites might have problems to recover after more intense droughts since they resist drought but are less able to recover afterwards.
In this study, we analysed the resistance and resilience to drought of forests dominated by 11 species across wide climatic and environmental gradients in the Mediterranean basin using proxies of forest productivity (NDVI) and carbon accumulation (ring‐width indices, TRWi) and considering four extreme drought events recorded between 1980 and 2005. Our results indicate that drought intensity is a major driver of forest resilience to drought but that species inhabiting different regions present different strategies to cope with drought and thus they can respond differently to more frequent and severe droughts.
normalized difference vegetation index ; forest growth ; drought stress ; resilience index ; tree‐rings ; forest productivity ; dendroecology ; Magnoliopsida - physiology ; Forests ; Time Factors ; Cycadopsida - physiology ; Droughts ; Mediterranean Region ; Spain ; Biomes ; Remote sensing ; Index Medicus
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