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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: Forest Ecology and Management, 15 October 2014, Vol.330, pp.283-293
    Description: Future climate projections for Central Europe indicate a decrease in summer precipitation which might range between 15% and 50%, and equally important, changes in the climate variability, resulting in consecutive years with drought periods. With respect to Central European forests, we asked to which degree realistic drought conditions are tolerated by the recruits of the dominant tree species L , and how the effects depend on biotic interactions. To test the combined effects of drought, competition and provenance of recruits we set up a rain shelter experiment at three sites in different regions of Germany. Transposable roof panels allowed a flexible precipitation reduction between 10% and 70% corresponding with a return period of 40 years. We planted saplings of three provenances, exposed them to drought and competition. We tested if understorey herbaceous competitors have a negative impact on saplings, and thus, exacerbate drought effects and that provenances from drier regions are adapted to drought conditions and cope better with drought conditions. Six months after the drought treatment started, we encountered significant drought effects, seen in a reduced leaf stomatal conductance, although there was not yet a response in growth rates. Overall, the site had the greatest impact on phytometer performance, while we found no indication of adaptation to drought of the different provenances. Furthermore, drought effects increased in interaction with site effects, being highest at the driest site. At the driest site, leaf stomatal conductance decreased in the presence of competition but increased in the control subplots, while the site of intermediate moisture conditions showed the opposite pattern and the wettest site displayed no differences. Our results highlight the fact that biotic interactions can mitigate or exacerbate drought effects, depending on regional site conditions.
    Keywords: Global Change ; Fagus Sylvatica ; Drought ; Forest Understory ; Competition ; Provenances ; Forestry ; Biology
    ISSN: 0378-1127
    E-ISSN: 1872-7042
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Annals of Forest Science, 2018, Vol.75(1), pp.1-18
    Description: Key message Understory plant communities are essential for the recruitment of trees making up future forests. Independent of plant diversity, the understory across different forest ecosystems shows considerable physiological acclimation and structural stability towards drought events, which are expected to occur more frequently in future. Context Understory plant communities are essential for the recruitment of trees making up the future forest. It is so far poorly understood how climate change will affect understory in beech and conifer forests managed at different intensity levels. Aims We hypothesized that drought would affect transpiration and carbon isotope discrimination but not species richness and diversity. Moreover, we assumed that forest management intensity will modify the responses to drought of the understory community. Methods We set up roofs in forests with a gradient of management intensities (unmanaged beech—managed beech—intensively managed conifer forests) in three regions across Germany. A drought event close to the 2003 drought was imposed in two consecutive years. Results After 2 years, the realized precipitation reduction was between 27% and 34%. The averaged water content in the top 20 cm of the soil under the roof was reduced by 2% to 8% compared with the control. In the 1st year, leaf level transpiration was reduced for different functional groups, which scaled to community transpiration modified by additional effects of drought on functional group leaf area. Acclimation effects in most functional groups were observed in the 2nd year. Conclusion Forest understory shows high plasticity at the leaf and community level, and high structural stability to changing climate conditions with drought events.
    Keywords: Climate change ; Herb layer ; Stable carbon isotope ; Functional traits ; Diversity
    ISSN: 1286-4560
    E-ISSN: 1297-966X
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