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Lowest drought sensitivity and decreasing growth synchrony towards the dry distribution margin of European beech

  • Abstract Aim Climate limits the potential distribution ranges of species. Establishment and growth of individuals at range margins is assumed to be more limited by extreme events such as drought or frost events than in the centre of their range. We explore whether the growth of beech is more sensitive to drought towards the dry distribution margin and more sensitive to frost towards the cold distribution margin. Furthermore, we aim to gain insight into the adaptive potential of beech towards both the dry and cold distribution margins. Location European gradient from the dry (Spain) to the cold (Poland, Sweden) distribution margin of beech. Taxon European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). Methods We applied a range‐wide dendroecological study to analyse spatial and temporal trends in climate–growth relationships. We further investigated negative growth anomalies and growth synchrony towards the range margins. Results We found beech to be drought sensitive across its whole range, except at the dry distribution margin. Furthermore, sensitivity to winter temperature was not found in the centre or at the cold distribution margin, but at the southern distribution margin. Growth synchrony was lower at the dry than at the cold distribution margin. Main conclusions Beech seems to be adapted to drought at the dry distribution margin with a high adaptive potential indicated by the lowest growth synchrony along the gradient. At the cold distribution margin, cold events in winter and spring were less important for growth than drought. Still, the importance of spring frost for beech growth appears to increase in recent decades. Considering a projected north‐eastward shift of the distribution range, beech is likely facing drought stress in combination with spring frost risk at the cold margin which could lead to a hampered range expansion.

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Author: Lena Muffler, Robert Weigel, Andrew J. Hacket‐Pain, Marcin Klisz, Ernst van der Maaten, Martin Wilmking, Juergen Kreyling, Marieke van der Maaten‐Theunissen
Parent Title (English):Journal of Biogeography
Place of publication:Hoboken, New Jersey
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2020/09/07
Release Date:2021/02/05
Tag:climate sensitivity; cold edge; cold events; dendrochronology; dry edge; forest ecology
GND Keyword:-
First Page:1910
Last Page:1921
Faculties:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Botanik und Landschaftsökologie & Botanischer Garten
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung