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Coppicing improves the growth response of short-rotation hybrid aspen to elevated atmospheric humidity

Tullus, Arvo and Rosenvald, Katrin and Lutter, Reimo and Kaasik, Ants and Kupper, Priit and Sellin, Arne (2020). Coppicing improves the growth response of short-rotation hybrid aspen to elevated atmospheric humidity. Forest Ecology and Management. 459 , 117825
[Research article]

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Abstract

Aspens are fast-growing clonal trees with a wide circumboreal distribution range, suitable for the production of pulp and bioenergy. The adaptability of aspen short-rotation coppice systems to climate change has rarely been investigated. For a large part of aspens' northern range, climate models predict an increase in precipitation and, consequently, in atmospheric humidity. Our aim was to clarify the long-term effect of elevated air humidity on vegetative reproduction capacity and dynamics of above-ground growth and size structure in aspen stands. We analysed tree growth data from two consecutive 6-year rotations (a planted and a coppice generation) in experimental short-rotation hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. x P. tremuloides Michx.) stands in the Free Air Humidity Manipulation (FAHM) experiment in Estonia. In three plots, mean relative air humidity was elevated by 7% and three plots were controls. Across two rotation periods, the humidification effect on tree height and/or stem basal area increment was year-dependent (p < 0.001): negative in 4 years, positive also in 4 years and non-significant in 3 years. Mean basal area of humidified (11.6 +/- 0.8 cm(2)) and control trees (15.0 +/- 1.0 cm(2)) differed significantly (p = 0.035) at the end of the first but not the second rotation period (9.3 +/- 0.9 cm(2) and 9.3 +/- 1.2 cm(2), respectively). Average growth differences levelled out already in the beginning of the second rotation, suggesting that some root-level acclimation must have taken place. The annual size-growth relationships (SGR) indicated a more size-symmetric growth in humidified (SGR = 1.00 +/- 0.05) and a size-asymmetric growth (SGR = 1.12 +/- 0.04) in control stands, implying a greater role of root-competition in humidified stands. In humidified stands, the growth of re-sprouting trees was more strongly determined by parent tree size, indicating a stronger carry-over of size hierarchy. The tree height diversity fluctuated more in control stands, where mortality was higher, especially after dry years. To summarise, short- and long-term responses of hybrid aspen to elevated air humidity varied, emphasizing the importance of long-term climate manipulations with trees. Generally, hybrid aspen short-rotation coppice forests showed promising acclimation capacity with future more humid climate predicted for northern latitudes.

Authors/Creators:Tullus, Arvo and Rosenvald, Katrin and Lutter, Reimo and Kaasik, Ants and Kupper, Priit and Sellin, Arne
Title:Coppicing improves the growth response of short-rotation hybrid aspen to elevated atmospheric humidity
Series Name/Journal:Forest Ecology and Management
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:459
Article number:117825
Number of Pages:11
ISSN:0378-1127
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:Aspen coppice, Climate change, Forest acclimation, Intraspecific competition, Populus, Stand structure
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-103714
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-103714
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.foreco.2019.117825
Web of Science (WoS)000512482900002
ID Code:24630
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:21 Jun 2021 15:11
Metadata Last Modified:21 Jun 2021 15:21

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