Extreme climate events such as late spring frosts (LSFs) negatively affect productivity and tree growth in temperate beech forests. However, detailed information on how these forests recover after such events are still missing. We investigated how LSFs affected forest cover and radial growth in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) populations located at different elevations at four sites in the Italian Apennines, where LSFs have been recorded. We combined tree-ring and remote-sensing data to analyse the sensitivity and recovery capacity of beech populations to LSFs. Using daily temperature records, we reconstructed LSF events and assessed legacy effects on growth. We also evaluated the role played by elevation and stand structure as modulators of LSFs impacts. Finally, using satellite images we computed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and LAI (Leaf Area Index) to evaluate the post-LSF canopy recovery. The growth reduction in LSF-affected trees ranged from 36 % to 84 %. We detected a negative impact of LSF on growth only during the LSF year, with growth recovery occurring within 1-2 years after the event. LSF-affected stands featured low vegetation indices until late June, i.e. on average 75 days after the frost events. We did not find a clear relationship between beech forest elevation and occurrence of LSFs defoliations. Our results indicate a high recovery capacity of common beech and no legacy effects of LSFs.

Tree-ring and remote sensing analyses uncover the role played by elevation on European beech sensitivity to late spring frost

Tonelli, Enrico;Vitali, Alessandro;Malandra, Francesco;Urbinati, Carlo
2022

Abstract

Extreme climate events such as late spring frosts (LSFs) negatively affect productivity and tree growth in temperate beech forests. However, detailed information on how these forests recover after such events are still missing. We investigated how LSFs affected forest cover and radial growth in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) populations located at different elevations at four sites in the Italian Apennines, where LSFs have been recorded. We combined tree-ring and remote-sensing data to analyse the sensitivity and recovery capacity of beech populations to LSFs. Using daily temperature records, we reconstructed LSF events and assessed legacy effects on growth. We also evaluated the role played by elevation and stand structure as modulators of LSFs impacts. Finally, using satellite images we computed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and LAI (Leaf Area Index) to evaluate the post-LSF canopy recovery. The growth reduction in LSF-affected trees ranged from 36 % to 84 %. We detected a negative impact of LSF on growth only during the LSF year, with growth recovery occurring within 1-2 years after the event. LSF-affected stands featured low vegetation indices until late June, i.e. on average 75 days after the frost events. We did not find a clear relationship between beech forest elevation and occurrence of LSFs defoliations. Our results indicate a high recovery capacity of common beech and no legacy effects of LSFs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/306861
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