Growth response of Pinus cembra to experimentally modified soil temperatures at the treeline. (2010- 2013)

Temperature is the paramount factor controlling tree growth at high altitudes and it is suggested that aside of aboveground temperature also soil temperature has a direct effect on tree growth. In this study the impact of elevated and reduced soil temperature on growth of Pinus cembra is evaluated, using naturally grown mature trees within the treeline ecotone (c. 2000 m a.s.l.). Soil temperature will be reduced and elevated by shading of the root zone with insulating-plates and heat-trapping by Perspex-panels, respectively. The influence of altered soil temperature on radial growth will be determined by automatic circumference dendrometers, while fine root dynamics and turnover will be quantified by minirhizoscope technique and root coring. Measurements of photosynthesis and soil respiration as well as analysis of needle, soil and root nutrient content and ectomycorrhizal abundance and composition will provide insight on above and below ground metabolic activity. Analysis of above and below ground growth, as well as monitoring of metabolic activity and nutrient status will enable a detailed interpretation of soil temperature-tree growth relationships.

Aim of the proposed study is to improve our understanding of the relationship between soil temperature and tree growth within the treeline ecotone using an in-situ experimental design, where only soil temperature is altered while trees grow under natural environmental conditions.

FWF P22836-B16 [Link]

Personnel involved

Gruber Andreas

Prof. Dr. Christoph Leuschner [Link]
Universität Göttingen
Albrecht-von-Haller-Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften, Abteilung Ökologie und Ökosystemforschung
Universitätsdozent Dr. Gerhard Wieser [Link]
Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape
Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Ursula Peintner [Link]
University Innsbruck, Institute of Microbiology

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