Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 536346
Title Water availability as driver of birch mortality in Hustai National Park, Mongolia
Author(s) Verhoeven, D.; Boer, W.F. de; Henkens, R.J.H.G.; Sass-Klaassen, U.G.W.
Source Dendrochronologia 49 (2018). - ISSN 1125-7865 - p. 127 - 133.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dendro.2018.04.001
Department(s) PE&RC
Resource Ecology
Alterra - Biodiversity and policy
Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract Trees in the forest-steppe ecotones face stress due to reduced water availability as a consequence of more extreme seasonal fluctuations in precipitation and temperature. Together with browsing pressure this can hinder tree growth, tree regeneration and competition between trees and grasses. We studied the impact of both stress factors on the mortality of birch trees in two forest sites at Hustai National Park, Mongolia, by applying tree-ring research to determine growth-limiting factors and assessing browsing pressure on young and adult birch. We expected warm and dry summer conditions as main growth limiting factor. Moreover, we expected a positive relation between deer density and tree mortality with browsing mainly affecting smaller trees with a low diameter at breast height (DBH). We found that the growth in both birch populations is mainly driven by winter precipitation and – to a lesser extent – negatively affected by high summer temperature. This suggests that water availability as defined by soil moisture, especially at the beginning of the growing season is crucial for birch growth in our study area. For mortality we found significant differences between both populations, but no significant relationship with deer density. In plots with high mortality rates mean tree height of the remaining living trees decreased. These results suggest that under expected climate change with declining annual precipitation rates, the birch forest of Hustai National Park is converting into a steppe ecosystem, like described for other forest ecosystems in this ecotone.
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