Differential impact of hotter drought on seedling performance of five ecologically distinct pine species



Matias L, Castro J, Villar-Salvador P, Quero JL & Jump A (2017) Differential impact of hotter drought on seedling performance of five ecologically distinct pine species. Plant Ecology, 218 (2), pp. 201-212.

Increasing temperature and drought intensity is inducing the phenomenon of so called “hotter drought”, which is expected to increase in frequency over the coming decades across many areas of the globe, and is expected to have major implications for forest systems. Consequences of hotter drought could be especially relevant for closely-related species overlapping their distributions, since differences in response can translate into range shifts. We assessed the effect of future climatic conditions on the performance of five ecologically distinct pine species common in Europe: Pinus halepensis, P. pinaster, P. nigra, P. sylvestris and P. uncinata. We hypothesised that Mediterranean species inhabiting dry, low-elevation sites will be less affected by the expected warming and drought increase than species inhabiting cold-wet sites. We performed a controlled-conditions experiment simulating current and projected temperature and precipitation and analysed seedling responses in terms of survival, growth, biomass allocation, maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) and plant water potential (Ψ). Either an increase of temperature or a reduction of water input alone reduced seedling performance, but the highest impact occurred when these two factors acted in combination. Warming and water limitation reduced Ψ, whereas warming alone reduced biomass allocation to roots and Fv/Fm. However, species responded differentially to warmer and drier conditions, with lowland Mediterranean pines (P. halepensis and P. pinaster) showing higher survival and performance than mountain species. Interspecific differences in response to warmer, drier conditions could contribute to changes in the relative dominance of these pine species in Mediterranean regions where they co-occur and a hotter, drier climate is anticipated.

Climate change; ecophysiology; growth; Pinus; regeneration; warming; water potential

Supported by Stirling-held EU Marie Curie (FP7-2011-IEF-300825)

Plant Ecology: Volume 218, Issue 2

FundersEuropean Commission
Publication date28/02/2017
Publication date online09/11/2016
Date accepted by journal03/11/2016

People (1)


Professor Alistair Jump
Professor Alistair Jump

Dean of Natural Sciences, NS Management and Support

Projects (1)