, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 47-53

Effects of a Severe Drought on Water and Nitrogen Use by Quercus ilex and Phyllyrea latifolia

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A severe drought that took place in Spain and other Mediterranean countries in 1994 produced a dieback of Quercus ilex trees on south-facing conglomerates but only minor defoliations in trees on north-facing schists. The foliar Δ13C of damaged trees continued to decrease in the next two wet years probably indicating increasing water use efficiency, and their δ15N continued to increase indicating progressive ecosystem N saturation and/or N losses whereas there were no significant changes in undamaged trees. Pre-drought Δ13C values were reached in the third year after the drought, but δ15N values did not yet recover. Another co-occurring small tree, Phyllyrea latifolia, did not show any damage and gained dominance in the most affected stands.