Growth response of forest trees to changes in water availability

Growth response of forest trees to changes in water availability

Radial growth indices are valuable long-term measures of overall tree vigor and dendroclimatological methods are frequently applied to identify the climatic factors most closely associated with variations in tree-ring parameters. Within dry inner Alpine valleys it is well established that tree growth is primarily limited by precipitation and severe drought during the growing season results in long-lasting growth reductions and increased mortality of susceptible or less competitive tree species (e.g., Pichler and Oberhuber 2007, Gruber et al. 2010). Aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of past precipitation variability and climate extremes on radial stem growth of native coniferous and deciduous tree species on drought-prone sites in the Wipptal-valley (Tyrol, Austria). To accomplish this, tree ring chronologies from several (mixed) stands will be established and growth-climate relationships will be explored using multiple regression and Pearson correlation analyses. If species-specific differences in response and sensitivity to drought stress can be detected within the study area, they will have implications for the future management of mixed-species forests in dry inner-Alpine environments.

Publications
Pichler P., W. Oberhuber (2007) Radial growth response of coniferous forest trees in an inner Alpine environment to heat-wave in 2003. Forest Ecology Management 242:688-699
Gruber A., S. Strobl, B. Veit, W. Oberhuber (2010) Impact of drought on the temporal dynamics of wood formation in Pinus sylvestris. Tree Physiology 30:490-501
 

Funding
Brenner Basistunnel AG (BBT-AG)

Personnel involved
Roman Schuster
Christoph Stöckl
Walter Oberhuber