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    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2015, Vol.10(4), p.e0122539
    Description: Soil microbial communities play an important role in forest ecosystem functioning, but how climate change will affect the community composition and consequently bacterial functions is poorly understood. We assessed the effects of reduced precipitation with the aim of simulating realistic future drought conditions for one growing season on the bacterial community and its relation to soil properties and forest management. We manipulated precipitation in beech and conifer forest plots managed at different levels of intensity in three different regions across Germany. The precipitation reduction decreased soil water content across the growing season by between 2 to 8% depending on plot and region. T-RFLP analysis and pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene were used to study the total soil bacterial community and its active members after six months of precipitation reduction. The effect of reduced precipitation on the total bacterial community structure was negligible while significant effects could be observed for the active bacteria. However, the effect was secondary to the stronger influence of specific soil characteristics across the three regions and management selection of overstorey tree species and their respective understorey vegetation. The impact of reduced precipitation differed between the studied plots; however, we could not determine the particular parameters being able to modify the response of the active bacterial community among plots. We conclude that the moderate drought induced by the precipitation manipulation treatment started to affect the active but not the total bacterial community, which points to an adequate resistance of the soil microbial system over one growing season.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, April 1, 2016, Vol.20(3), p.1301
    Description: Climate change is expected to impact the water cycle and severely affect precipitation patterns across central Europe and in other parts of the world, leading to more frequent and severe droughts. Usually when projecting drought impacts on hydrological systems, it is assumed that system properties, like soil properties, remain stable and will not be affected by drought events. To study if this assumption is appropriate, we address the effects of drought on the infiltration behavior of forest soils using dye tracer experiments on six sites in three regions across Germany, which were forced into drought conditions. The sites cover clayey-, loamy- and sandy-textured soils. In each region, we compared a deciduous and a coniferous forest stand to address differences between the main tree species. The results of the dye tracer experiments show clear evidence for changes in infiltration behavior at the sites. The infiltration changed at the clayey plots from regular and homogeneous flow to fast preferential flow. Similar behavior was observed at the loamy plots, where large areas in the upper layers remained dry, displaying signs of strong water repellency. This was confirmed by water drop penetration time#xC2;#xA0;(WDPT) tests, which revealed, in all except one plot, moderate to severe water repellency. Water repellency was also accountable for the change of regular infiltration to fingered flow in the sandy soils. The results of this study suggest that the drought history or, more generally, the climatic conditions of a soil in the past are more important than the actual antecedent soil moisture status regarding hydrophobicity and infiltration behavior; furthermore, drought effects on infiltration need to be considered in hydrological models to obtain realistic predictions concerning water quality and quantity in runoff and groundwater recharge.
    Keywords: Soil Moisture ; Climate Change ; Droughts ; Coniferous Forests ; Forest Soils ; Water Cycle ; Tracers (Chemistry) ; Sandy Soils
    ISSN: 1027-5606
    ISSN: 16077938
    E-ISSN: 16077938
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Plant Science, 01 March 2019, Vol.10
    Description: In response to a wide-spread decline in forest vitality associated with acid rain in the 1980s, liming of soils has been implemented in many federal states in Germany to buffer further acid deposition and improve availability of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. As a consequence, it may also increase vitality and depth of fine-root systems and hence improve the drought tolerance of species such as Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.], which occurs mostly on acidic forest soils. However, the influence of repeated liming on drought tolerance of trees has never been studied. Here we compared the resistance, recovery and resilience of radial growth in P. abies in relation to drought in limed and control stands and assessed how the dosage and interval between lime application and drought year influences the radial growth response of P. abies. We analyzed radial growth in 198 P. abies trees of six experimental sites in south–west Germany. An analysis of the radial increment over the last 30 years allowed the analysis of drought events shortly after the first liming (short-term effect) as well as posterior drought events (mid- to long-term effects). Generalized linear models were developed to assess the influence of drought intensity, site and period since first liming on the drought tolerance of Norway spruce. Regardless of drought intensity, there was no general increase in drought resistance of Norway spruce in response to liming. However, drought resistance of radial growth improved on a loamy site that was additionally treated with wood ash 30 years after the first lime application. Furthermore, recovery and resilience of radial growth after severe drought events were generally better in spruce trees of limed treatments. This indicates a shorter stress period in spruce trees growing on limed soil, which may reduce their susceptibility to secondary, drought-related pests and pathogens.
    Keywords: Norway Spruce ; Liming ; Drought Tolerance ; Resistance ; Resilience ; Botany
    E-ISSN: 1664-462X
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