Tree Responses to Drought

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2021) | Viewed by 18703

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Senior Lecturer in Ecology, School of Science, Auckland University of Technology, 34 St Paul St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Interests: plant ecology; tree physiology; global change ecology; plant–insect interactions; plant–pathogen interactions
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Drought-induced tree mortality is expected to increase in many regions under current climate change scenarios. Shifts in forest community composition and structure driven by changes in interspecific and intraspecific competition are very likely to occur, as water becomes an increasingly limiting resource in the future. Owing to the large variation in root, crown, and hydraulic architecture as well as physiological traits, trees respond to drought in various ways, with a high degree of inter- and intra-species specificity. Moreover, the environmental conditions commonly change spatially across a species’ distribution range and also temporally with life stage. 

This Special Issue is calling for original, innovative papers on anatomical, morphological, molecular, and physiological tree responses to drought at all levels of organization, from the seedling phase to the mature stage.

Dr. Martin K.-F. Bader
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Embolism
  • Osmotic adjustment
  • Hydraulic failure
  • Carbon starvation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 2805 KiB  
Article
Drought Effects on Morpho-Physiological and Biochemical Traits in Persian Oak and Black Poplar Seedlings
by Amir Karimi, Masoud Tabari, Zeinab Javanmard and Martin Karl-Friedrich Bader
Forests 2022, 13(3), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13030399 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2531
Abstract
In many arid and semi-arid regions, increasing water scarcity pushes woody species to their physiological limits, making strong drought resistance essential for adaptive forest management. Here, we examined morpho-physiological and biochemical drought responses of the forestry-relevant Persian oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) and [...] Read more.
In many arid and semi-arid regions, increasing water scarcity pushes woody species to their physiological limits, making strong drought resistance essential for adaptive forest management. Here, we examined morpho-physiological and biochemical drought responses of the forestry-relevant Persian oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) and black poplar (Populus nigra L.). In a 120-day greenhouse pot experiment, seedlings were subjected to three watering regimes (FC100, FC60, and FC30, indicating percentages of field capacity). Under FC100 conditions, all biomass measures and the total and specific leaf area of oak were significantly greater compared to those of poplar. FC60-exposed poplar seedlings exhibited strong declines in relative water content (RWC; −33%) and carotenoids (−46%) and a surge in electrolyte leakage (EL; +51%), while these parameters did not change significantly in oak. Although both species showed 80% EL under FC30 conditions, poplar suffered more severe drought damage than oak as evidenced by a 65% lower survival, stronger reductions in RWC and total chlorophyll, as well as stronger increases in oxidative stress markers. Accordingly, poplar seedlings displayed a drought-related 56% decline in quality index while only statistically insignificant reductions occurred in oak seedlings. The superior drought resistance of oak seedlings implies economically more viable nursery production and better seedling establishment, suggesting a shift towards Persian oak-dominated forestry in its natural range under future climate projections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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14 pages, 1879 KiB  
Article
Responses of Parameters for Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy and Pressure–Volume Curves to Drought Stress in Pinus bungeana Seedlings
by Ai-Fang Wang, Bao Di, Tapani Repo, Marja Roitto and Gang Zhang
Forests 2020, 11(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030359 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2521
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Drought occurs more frequently in Northern China with the advent of climate change, which might increase the mortality of tree seedlings after afforestation due to hydraulic failure. Therefore, investigating water relations helps us understand the drought tolerance of tree seedlings. [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Drought occurs more frequently in Northern China with the advent of climate change, which might increase the mortality of tree seedlings after afforestation due to hydraulic failure. Therefore, investigating water relations helps us understand the drought tolerance of tree seedlings. Electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is widely used to assess the responses of plant tissues to stress factors and may potentially reveal the water relations of cells. The aim of this study is to reveal the relationships between EIS and water related parameters, produced by pressure–volume (PV) curves in lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana Zucc.) seedlings reacting to drought stress. Materials and Methods: Four-year-old pot seedlings were divided into three parts (0, 5, and 10 days of drought) before planting, the treated seedlings were then replanted, and finally exposed to post-planting drought treatments with the following soil relative water contents: (i) adequate irrigation (75%–80%), (ii) light drought (55%–60%), (iii) moderate drought (35%–40%), and (iv), severe drought (15%–20%). During the post-planting growth phase, the EIS parameters of needles and shoots, and the parameters of PV curves, were measured coincidently; thus, the correlations between them could be obtained. Results: The extracellular resistance (re) of needles and shoots were substantially reduced after four weeks of severe post-planting drought stress. Meanwhile, the osmotic potential at the turgor-loss point (ψtlp) and the saturation water osmotic potential (ψsat) of shoots decreased after drought stress, indicating an osmotic adjustment in acclimating to drought. The highest correlations were found between the intracellular resistance (ri) of the shoots and ψtlp and ψsat. Conclusions: EIS parameters can be used as a measure of drought tolerance. The change in intracellular resistance is related to the osmotic potential of the cell and cell wall elasticity. Extracellular resistance is a parameter that shows cell membrane damage in response to drought stress in lacebark pine seedlings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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15 pages, 1860 KiB  
Communication
Effect of Different Soil Treatments with Hydrogel on the Performance of Drought-Sensitive and Tolerant Tree Species in a Semi-Arid Region
by Ivana Tomášková, Michal Svatoš, Jan Macků, Hana Vanická, Karolina Resnerová, Jaroslav Čepl, Jaroslav Holuša, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini and Achim Dohrenbusch
Forests 2020, 11(2), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020211 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3806
Abstract
Research Highlights: Although a number of forestry studies have found that hydrogel improves tree performance, studies that are located in semi-arid regions and that include a broad spectrum of tree species and the assessment of multiple physiological traits are lacking. Background and Objectives: [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Although a number of forestry studies have found that hydrogel improves tree performance, studies that are located in semi-arid regions and that include a broad spectrum of tree species and the assessment of multiple physiological traits are lacking. Background and Objectives: The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of hydrogel treatments (with sawdust, organic fertilizer, compost, wheat straw, subsoil, or subsoil with a cobble cover) applied during planting on the survival, growth, and physiological traits of 20 tree species. Materials and Methods: In a field experiment (factorial design with seven treatments including a control, 20 species, and ten replicates) in a semi-arid part of Iran, we applied water alone (control) or water with hydrogel and other materials to recently planted samplings. We evaluated tree height, health, osmotic potential, and biochemical properties after 6 months and survival after 12 months. Results: Hydrogel treatment (regardless of other material) significantly improved the performance of drought-sensitive but not of drought-tolerant species. Conclusions: The benefits of hydrogel treatment are substantial for drought-sensitive species but are insignificant for drought-resistant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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21 pages, 9921 KiB  
Article
Half-Sib Lines of Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur L.) Respond Differently to Drought Through Biometrical, Anatomical and Physiological Traits
by Erna Vastag, Claudia Cocozza, Saša Orlović, Lazar Kesić, Milena Kresoja and Srdjan Stojnić
Forests 2020, 11(2), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020153 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3034
Abstract
Quercus robur L. is one of the most valued tree species of deciduous temperate forests. However, in the last decade, serious oak declines and loss of adaptation plasticity have been reported throughout Europe as a consequence of drought. Therefore, the aim of the [...] Read more.
Quercus robur L. is one of the most valued tree species of deciduous temperate forests. However, in the last decade, serious oak declines and loss of adaptation plasticity have been reported throughout Europe as a consequence of drought. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to define the adaptation potential of five Q. robur half-sib lines from the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube to drought, using physiological, anatomical and biometrical traits. Half-sib lines that exhibited drought tolerance had particular suites of trait expression regarding biometrical traits (seedling height, root length, root to shoot ratio of dry mass and specific leaf area), leaf stomatal traits (stomatal density per mm2, stomata guard cell length and width, stomatal aperture length and width) and leaf structural traits (adaxial epidermis thickness, palisade parenchyma thickness, spongy parenchyma thickness, lamina thickness). All of the observed parameters of chlorophyll a fluorescence were shown to be good indicators of short-term and severe drought. For the selection of drought-tolerant half-sib lines, all studied chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters associated with the heat dissipation of light energy (coefficient of non-photochemical quenching, quantum yield of regulated energy dissipation, Stern-Volmer type non-photochemical fluorescence quenching) and one parameter related to photochemical dissipation of light energy (effective quantum yield (efficiency) of PS II photochemistry) were proven to be suitable. On the other hand, the coefficient of photochemical quenching, coefficient of photochemical fluorescence quenching assuming interconnected photosystem II antennae and electron transport rate were not suitable for distinguishing the different responses of the studied half-sib lines under drought. The importance of results of the present study is in the selection of drought-tolerant Q. robur half-sib lines for future reforestation programs, particularly in protected areas with sensitive forest management and restricted activities for mitigation of the adverse effects of climate changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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17 pages, 3951 KiB  
Article
Shifts in Leaf and Branch Elemental Compositions of Pinus massoniana (Lamb.) Following Three-Year Rainfall Exclusion
by Tian Lin, Xuan Fang, Yongru Lai, Huaizhou Zheng and Jinmao Zhu
Forests 2020, 11(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010113 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2425
Abstract
We investigated changes in leaf and branch stoichiometry of Pinus massoniana caused by seasonal variation and experimental drought in response to a three-year manipulation of the rainfall exclusion. The results showed that (1) in response to rainfall exclusion manipulation, plant capacity to regulate [...] Read more.
We investigated changes in leaf and branch stoichiometry of Pinus massoniana caused by seasonal variation and experimental drought in response to a three-year manipulation of the rainfall exclusion. The results showed that (1) in response to rainfall exclusion manipulation, plant capacity to regulate leaf potassium (K) concentrations were notably lower than for leaf nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations. Thus, the plants modulated leaf N and P concentrations to improve water use efficiency, which take part in drought resistance mechanisms. Leaf K concentrations decreased continuously, having additional indirect negative effects on plant fitness. (2) The effects of seasonal variation on both the leaf K and P concentrations were significantly stronger than on leaf N concentrations. High leaf N and P concentrations and a low N:P ratio in the growing season improved the growth rate. (3) Principal component analyses (PCA) revealed that to adapt to drought, the plants regulated nutrient elements and then maintained certain stoichiometries as a capital to resist stress. Our results suggest that, on nutrient-poor soils, a lack of N or P (or both) would probably impede P. massoniana’s response to drought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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14 pages, 2999 KiB  
Article
Development of Fine Root Biomass of Two Contrasting Urban Tree Cultivars in Response to Drought Stress
by Chi Zhang, Laura Myrtiá Faní Stratópoulos, Chao Xu, Hans Pretzsch and Thomas Rötzer
Forests 2020, 11(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010108 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3389
Abstract
Global climate change associated with rapid urbanization is projected to cause a worsening of environmental problems such as extreme heat and drought in cities. Urban trees play an essential role in improving air quality, fixing carbon, mitigating environmental degradation, and providing other ecosystem [...] Read more.
Global climate change associated with rapid urbanization is projected to cause a worsening of environmental problems such as extreme heat and drought in cities. Urban trees play an essential role in improving air quality, fixing carbon, mitigating environmental degradation, and providing other ecosystem services. However, limited research has been conducted on belowground processes, which hampers a comprehensive understanding of the effect of climate change and urbanization on urban tree growth. Fine roots (<2-mm diameter) are the primary pathway for water and nutrient uptake by plants, and they considerably contribute to the survival of urban trees under drought stress. In this study, we conducted a controlled experiment on the development of fine roots of Tilia cordata Mill ‘Greenspire’ and Tilia tomentosa Moench ‘Brabant’ in response to drought stress via soil coring. Our results indicate that the two cultivars have different strategies for coping with drought. Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’, originating from drier regions, gave allocation to deeper soil parts priority probably to obtain more water. On the other hand, Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’, which is native in Central Europe, showed a negative response to water shortage and preferred a more horizontal development of fine roots rather than a vertical development. Long-term studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the belowground processes of urban trees to select tree species and cultivars which are appropriate for planting in major cities, particularly with regard to future climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Responses to Drought)
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