Limiting Factors of Aspen Radial Growth Along a Climatic and Soil Water Budget Gradient in South-Western Siberia
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Understanding how climate and soil hydrology control tree growth is critical to predict the response of Siberian ecosystems to climate change. The general aim of this study was to (i) characterize the soil water budget and identify the factors controlling aspen (Populus tremula L.) radial growth in south-western Siberia, and (ii) assess its potential response to future climate change. Along a gradient of climate and soil hydrological conditions, soil water budgets were reconstructed by modeling at four sites, and dendrochronological analyses were performed. Aspen growth potential was simulated in response to different climate change scenarios represented by shifts in soil water budgets. Simulated soil water budgets varied with climate variables, specifically increased temperature and drier summer combined with varying winter precipitation occurring as snowfall.
We show that plant-available soil water and drainage gradually increased while stress decreased from the warmest and driest (south, forest-steppe zone) site to the coldest and wettest (north, southern taiga zone) site. Aspen radial growth was mainly limited by summer temperature in the north and by summer water deficit in the south. Surprisingly, we did not find clear evidence of snow level impact on radial growth, either positively in the south (water supply and protection against soil freezing) or negatively in the north (water-logging and drainage). In the context of climate change, water stress intensity could increase dramatically in the south inhibiting aspen growth; in those places summer soil water content depends on the refilling that occurs at snow-melt and increasing winter precipitation could alleviate stress levels. Conversely, in the north, aspen growth may mostly benefit from rising temperature.
Brédoire, F., Z. E. Kayler, J.-L. Dupouey, D. Derrien, B. Zeller, P. A. Barsukov, O. Rusalimova, P. Nikitich, M. R. Bakker, and A. Legout. 2020. Limiting factors of aspen radial growth along a climatic and soil water budget gradient in south-western Siberia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 282:107870.