Drought-induced tree mortality frequently occurs in patches with different spatial and temporal distributions, which is only partly explained by inter- and intraspecific variation in drought tolerance. We investigated whether bedrock properties, with special reference to rock water storage capacity, affects tree water status and drought response in a rock-dominated landscape. We measured primary porosity and available water content of breccia (B) and dolostone (D) rocks. Saplings of Fraxinus ornus were grown in pots filled with soil or soil mixed with B and D rocks, and subjected to an experimental drought. Finally, we measured seasonal changes in water status of trees in field sites overlying B or D bedrock. B rocks were more porous and stored more available water than D rocks. Potted saplings grown with D rocks had less biomass and suffered more severe water stress than those with B rocks. Trees in sites with B bedrock had more favourable water status than those on D bedrock which also suffered drought-induced canopy dieback. Bedrock represents an important water source for plants under drought. Different bedrock features translate into contrasting below-ground water availability, leading to landscape-level heterogeneity of the impact of drought on tree water status and dieback.

Water ‘on the rocks’: a summer drink for thirsty trees?

Nardini A.
;
Petruzzellis F.;Tomasella M.;Natale S.;Altobelli A.;Calligaris C.;Floriddia G.;Cucchi F.;Forte E.;Zini L.
2021

Abstract

Drought-induced tree mortality frequently occurs in patches with different spatial and temporal distributions, which is only partly explained by inter- and intraspecific variation in drought tolerance. We investigated whether bedrock properties, with special reference to rock water storage capacity, affects tree water status and drought response in a rock-dominated landscape. We measured primary porosity and available water content of breccia (B) and dolostone (D) rocks. Saplings of Fraxinus ornus were grown in pots filled with soil or soil mixed with B and D rocks, and subjected to an experimental drought. Finally, we measured seasonal changes in water status of trees in field sites overlying B or D bedrock. B rocks were more porous and stored more available water than D rocks. Potted saplings grown with D rocks had less biomass and suffered more severe water stress than those with B rocks. Trees in sites with B bedrock had more favourable water status than those on D bedrock which also suffered drought-induced canopy dieback. Bedrock represents an important water source for plants under drought. Different bedrock features translate into contrasting below-ground water availability, leading to landscape-level heterogeneity of the impact of drought on tree water status and dieback.
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https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.16859
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2973558
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