Soil moisture and its role in growth-climate relationships across an aridity gradient in semiarid Pinus halepensis forests

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Title: Soil moisture and its role in growth-climate relationships across an aridity gradient in semiarid Pinus halepensis forests
Authors: Manrique-Alba, Àngela | Ruiz-Yanetti, Samantha | Moutahir, Hassane | Novak, Klemen | Luis, Martin de | Bellot Abad, Juan Francisco
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Dendrochronology | Aleppo pine | Ecohydrological model | HYDROBAL | Soil water content
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Science of The Total Environment. 2017, 574: 982-990. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.123
Abstract: In Mediterranean areas with limited availability of water, an accurate knowledge of growth response to hydrological variables could contribute to improving management and stability of forest resources. The main goal of this study is to assess the temporal dynamic of soil moisture to better understand the water-growth relationship of Pinus halepensis forests in semiarid areas. The estimates of modelled soil moisture and measured tree growth were used at four sites dominated by afforested Pinus halepensis Mill. in south-eastern Spain with 300 to 609 mm mean annual precipitation. Firstly, dendrochronological samples were extracted and the widths of annual tree rings were measured to compute basal area increments (BAI). Secondly, soil moisture was estimated over 20 hydrological years (1992–2012) by means of the HYDROBAL ecohydrological model. Finally, the tree growth was linked, to mean monthly and seasonal temperature, precipitation and soil moisture. Results depict the effect of soil moisture on growth (BAI) and explain 69–73% of the variance in semiarid forests, but only 51% in the subhumid forests. This highlights the fact that that soil moisture is a suitable and promising variable to explain growth variations of afforested Pinus halepensis in semiarid conditions and useful for guiding adaptation plans to respond pro-actively to water-related global challenges.
Sponsor: This research was founded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the ECOBAL project (CGL2011-30531-C02-01), the ALTERACLIM project (CGL2015-69773-C2-1-P) and project (CGL2015-69985-R). A. Manrique-Alba also thanks the Ministry for the FPI grant to perform her PhD.
ISSN: 0048-9697 (Print) | 1879-1026 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.123
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
Peer Review: si
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