Drought and frost resistance of trees: a comparison of four species at different sites and altitudes
- 499 Downloads
Drought and frost resistances are key factors for the survival and distribution of tree species.
In this study, the vulnerability to drought-induced embolism and frost resistance of four species were analysed, whereby different sites and altitudes were compared and seasonal variation was considered.
Fagus sylvatica L., Sorbus aucuparia L., Picea abies L. Karst and Larix decidua Mill samples were harvested at high and low altitude sites in France and Austria, respectively, and sampling occurred in winter and summer. Pressure at 50% loss of conductivity (P 50), specific hydraulic conductivity (k s) and temperature lethal for 50% of cells (LT50) were determined, and soluble carbohydrate and starch content were quantified.
No site-, altitude- or season-specific trend in P 50 was observed, except for S. aucuparia, which showed P 50 to decrease with altitude. Within regions, k s tended to decrease with altitudes. LT50 was between −48.4°C (winter) and −9.4°C (summer) and more negative in Tyrolean trees. Starch content was overall lower and carbohydrate content higher in winter than in summer, no site-specific or altitudinal trend was observed.
Studied species obviously differed in their strategies to withstand to frost and drought, so that site-related, altitudinal and seasonal patterns varied.
KeywordsConifer Angiosperm Carbohydrate P50 LT50 ks
Acknowledgements and funding
This study was supported by the “Austrian Academic Exchange Service”, Amadee 2009–2010, “Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft Innsbruck” and “Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung”. The authors thank the Central Institute for Meterology and Geodynamics (ZAMG, Regionalstelle für Tirol und Vorarlberg) for providing climate data. We also thank the Office National des Forêts for tree samples as well as Pierre Conchon for help with cavitron measurements, Christian Bodet and Christophe Serre for help with LT50, Brigitte Girard, Brigitte Saint-Joanis and Marc Vandame for biochemical analysis as well as Birgit Dämon for assistance during measurements.
- Alberdi M, Romero M, Rios D, Wenzel H (1985) Altitudinal gradients of seasonal frost resistance in Nothofagus communities of southern Chile. Acta Oecol 6:21–30Google Scholar
- Charrier G, Bonhomme M, Lacointe A, Améglio T (2011) Are budburst dates, dormancy and cold acclimation in walnut trees (Juglans regia L.) under mainly genotypic or environmental control? Int J Biometeorol. doi: 10.1007/s00484-011-0470-1
- George MF, Burke MJ, Pellet HM (1974) Low temperature exotherms and woody plant distribution. Hortscience 87:39–46Google Scholar
- Larcher W (1972) Der Wasserhaushalt immergruener Pflanzen im Winter. Ber Dtsch Bot Ges 85:315–327Google Scholar
- Larcher W (1980) The temperature limits for plant life. In: Physiological Plant Ecology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
- Linden L (2002) Measuring cold hardiness in woody plants. Academic dissertation, University of HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
- Sakai A (1962) Studies on the frost-hardiness of woody plants. I. The causal relation between sugar content and frost-hardiness. Cont Inst Low Temp Sci 11:1–40Google Scholar
- Sakai A, Wardle P (1978) Freezing resistance of New Zealand trees and shrubs. N Z J Ecol 1:51–61Google Scholar
- Tranquillini W (1980) Winter desiccation as the cause for alpine timberline. NZFS FRI Technical Paper 70:263–267Google Scholar
- Tyree MT, Zimmermann MH (2002) Xylem structure and the ascent of sap. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar