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Juvenile growth response of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) to sudden change of climatic environment in SE European trials

Author(s): Mátyás C | Bozic G | Gömöry D | Ivankovic M | Rasztovits E

Journal: iForest : Biogeosciences and Forestry
ISSN 1971-7458

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 213;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Genetic adaptation | Provenance test | Common garden | Phenotypic stability | Ecodistance | Fagus sylvatica

The aim of the study was to analyse provenance tests of beech situated close to the south-eastern continental limits of the species, in order to develop a response model of adaptation and plasticity of populations on evolutionary-ecological basis, following sudden climatic changes, as a result of transplanting. Modelling of juvenile height was performed with the help of ecodistance variables. The concept of transfer analysis and ecodistance is based on the hypothesis that phenotypic response to macroclimatic changes depends on the inherited adaptive potential of the population and on the magnitude and direction of experienced environmental change. In common garden experiments, the transfer to the planting site is interpreted as simulation of environmental change. The application of ecodistance of transfer for evaluating common garden experiments provides much needed quantitative information about response of tree populations to predicted climatic changes. The analysis of three field experiments of European beech in SE Europe indicates that macroclimatic adaptation patterns exist in juvenile growth and justify restrictions of use of reproductive material on the basis of evolutionary ecology. The presented model illustrates that response to climatic change is regionally divergent, depending on testing conditions and on hereditary traits. In particular, climatic warming in the central-northern part of the range may lead to production increase. However, under the stressful and uncertain conditions at the lower (xeric) limit of the species, growth depression and vitality loss are predicted. The deviating behaviour of higher elevation provenances support their separate treatment. The results may be utilised in climate change adaptation and mitigation policy in forestry and nature conservation, to revise rules for use of reproductive material and also for validating evolutionary and ecological hypotheses related to climate change effects.
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Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona