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Growth compensation in an oak-pine mixed forest following an outbreak of pine sawfly (Diprion pini)

Abstract : Growth compensations following a disturbance have been found in different species communities through experimentation, but there are few results obtained in natural conditions, in particular for forest ecosystems. The objective of this study was to determine whether there was growth compensation in a mixed oak-pine forest following a biotic disturbance: an outbreak of pine sawfly (Diprion pini) that caused massive defoliation of pines in Europe in the early 1980s. The data were collected in mixed oak-pine stands located in the plains of north-central France. We measured the ring widths of 223 oaks and 271 pines in nine mixed stands over a period ranging from 1972 to 2005. We established a model which incorporated climatic effects in order to predict the ring width under undisturbed conditions and to quantify the response of each species to the disturbance. We found that the growth of both species varied synchronously with a positive covariation outside of the disturbance. During the disturbance, the growth of both species covaried negatively especially in the plots where pine had been the most severely affected. For the year following the peak of the defoliations, the reduction in growth for pine was strong and ranged from -27% to -92% depending on the plot. In addition, the more significant the reduction in growth for pine, the more significant the increase in growth for oak. We found that a 100% reduction in pine growth was accompanied by a 61% increase in oak growth for the three years following the most severe defoliation. These results demonstrate that compensation between the two tree species following the insect outbreak did occur. We suggest that growth compensations would especially occur in the case of severe biotic disturbances but probably not in the case of climatic fluctuations.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 3:49:31 PM
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T. Pérot, P. Vallet, Frédéric Archaux. Growth compensation in an oak-pine mixed forest following an outbreak of pine sawfly (Diprion pini). Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2013, 295, p. 155 - p. 161. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2013.01.016⟩. ⟨hal-00824361⟩



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