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Impact of tree species diversity on water and carbon relations in European forests

Abstract : Biodiversity is known to support and boost a wide range of forest ecosystem functions and services like productivity and resistance against insect pests and diseases. However, whether tree species diversity also promotes water and carbon acquisition and use in forest ecosystems is still unclear. Furthermore, in the current context of global warming, information on how tree species diversity can influence the response of forest ecosystems to extreme climatic events such as drought are urgently needed. In this framework, the objective of my PhD thesis was to determine how tree species diversity influences important functions of the water and carbon cycle including transpiration, carbon isotope composition and water extraction depth at the tree- and ecosystem-scale under contrasting soil water conditions. My work was conducted within the FunDivEUROPE project in a network of permanent forest stands and tree plantations across a North-South gradient in Europe covering a wide range of climatic conditions. I found considerable variability among species or forest types in the response of transpiration and carbon isotope composition at the tree- and ecosystem-scale across Europe. Species diversity did not affect the water and carbon relations of tree species and forest ecosystems under non-limiting soil water conditions. However, a strong effect of species diversity was observed under drought conditions in some forest types. Based on these data, I discuss the potential mechanisms of species interactions that may explain the observed patterns. I also point out that the influence of species diversity is highly context-dependent, and changes with local environmental and climatic conditions. In terms of forest management applications, I suggest that, at least in some regions, controlling for tree species diversity along with stand density and total basal area could be recommended to help forests adapt to drier conditions
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  • HAL Id : tel-02793207, version 2
  • PRODINRA : 276506

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Charlotte Grossiord. Impact of tree species diversity on water and carbon relations in European forests. Silviculture, forestry. Université de Lorraine, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014LORR0155⟩. ⟨tel-02793207v2⟩

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