El futuro del alcornoque está afectado por las interacciones de clima y suelo

Q-suber-seedsClimate change generates uncertainty about the sustainability of forests and their ecosystem services.

A research team in the IRNAS, with the collaboration of Michigan University, has studied the changes in abundance of cork oak (Quercus suber) in south Spain during a 10 year period, using data from the 2nd and 3rd Spanish Forest Inventories for a total of 755 plots. Bayesian models were applied to estimate tree mortality rate and recruitment rate, that were related with climatic and soil variables.

The increase of spring temperature was associated to increasing tree mortality. On the other hand, the increase in winter precipitation was associated to higher tree survival, but only in forests on sandy soils. On the contrary, survival was lower in clayish soils, probably related with waterlogging and higher aggressiveness of root pathogens. That is, soil conditions modulate the effects of climate on cork oak mortality.

The predicted global warming will affect negatively to cork oak populations. This trend of higher tree mortality is a serious risk because is aggravated by the scarcity of regeneration (only 10% of the plots had saplings and 54% had seedlings).

The study has been published in the August issue of the journal Diversity and Distributions.

Ibáñez et al. 2014. Diversity and Distributions 20: 872-883.

Comments are closed.