Past and future radial growth and water-use efficiency of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur in a long-term climate refugium - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Dendrochronologia Year : 2022

Past and future radial growth and water-use efficiency of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur in a long-term climate refugium

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Abstract

The low-latitudinal range margins of many temperate and boreal tree species consist of scattered populations that persist locally in climate refugia. Recent studies have shown that such populations can be remarkably resilient, yet their past resilience does not imply that they are immune to threats from future climate change. The functioning of refugial tree populations therefore needs to be better understood if we are to anticipate their prospects correctly. We performed a detailed study of tree radial growth and vigor in a long-term climate refugial population of beech (Fagus sylvatica), comparing the observed trends with those of co-occurring pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). Annual growth rates (basal area increment, BAI) for both species were similar to those observed in range-core populations, but natural lifespan was half that in the mountains. The master chronologies spanning 1870-2015 revealed 22% (Fagus) and 20% (Quercus) increases in BAI until the 1980s and a smaller decrease (-6% for Fagus,-9% for Quercus) since then. Stable carbon isotope measurements (delta C-13) revealed no effect of cambial age and an increase in water-use efficiency (iWUE) from 1870-2015 of about 50% for Fagus and 20% for Quercus. The trend continued until 2015 in Fagus, whereas Quercus reached its maximum in the 1980s. A detailed analysis of the relationship between climate and annual growth based on a 118-year meteorological record revealed a major role of water availability in the current and previous year. We used the observed climatic relationships to model future growth trends until 2100 for the IPCC scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Most projections revealed no change in current growth rates, suggesting that this climate refugium will be able to provide suitable conditions for the persistence of Fagus and Quercus over the coming decades even under warmer and drier regional climate conditions. Overall, our study provides valuable insight into the precise climatic and biological mechanisms enhancing the persistence of refugial tree populations under ongoing climate change.
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hal-03665846 , version 1 (02-12-2022)

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Didier Bert, François F. Lebourgeois, Adib Ouayjan, Alexis Ducousso, Jérôme Ogée, et al.. Past and future radial growth and water-use efficiency of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur in a long-term climate refugium. Dendrochronologia, 2022, 72, pp.1-14. ⟨10.1016/j.dendro.2022.125939⟩. ⟨hal-03665846⟩
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