The effect of tree diversity on the resistance and recovery of forest stands in the French Alps may depend on species differences in hydraulic features

Abstract : As climate change should lead to an increase in the vulnerability and the sensitivity of forests to extreme climatic events, quantifying and predicting their response to more severe droughts remains a key task for foresters. Furthermore, recent works have suggested that tree diversity may affect forest ecosystem functioning, including their response to extreme events. In this study we aimed at testing whether the growth response of forest stands to stressful climatic events varied between mixed and monospecific stands, under various environmental conditions. We focused on beech-fir forests (Fagus sylvatica [L.] and Abies albs [L.]) and beech-oak forests (F. sylvatica [L.] and Quercus pubescent [L.]) in the French Alps. We used a dendrochronological dataset sampled in forest plots organized by triplets (one mixture and two monospecific stands) distributed in six sites along a latitudinal gradient. We tested (1) whether stand diversity (two-species stands vs monospecific stands) modulates the stands' response to drought events in terms of productivity, (2) whether species identity may drive the diversity effect on resistance and recovery, and (3) whether this can be explained by interspecific interactions. We found that (1) interspecific differences in response to extreme drought events (possibly due to interspecific differences in hydraulic characteristics) can induce a mixture effect on stand growth, although it appeared (2) to be strongly depending on species identity (positive effect only found for beech-fir mixed stands), while (3) there were no significant non-additive effects of diversity on stand resistance and recovery, except for some specific cases. Overall, our study shows that promoting selected mixed stands management may buffer extreme drought effect on stand productivity.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 8:11:55 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 2:53:39 PM

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M. Jourdan, François Lebourgeois, X. Morin. The effect of tree diversity on the resistance and recovery of forest stands in the French Alps may depend on species differences in hydraulic features. Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2019, 450, pp.117486. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2019.117486⟩. ⟨hal-02352504⟩

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