Coupled Hydro-Climatic Signals in the Radial Growth of Oaks Benefitting from Groundwater Availability

Garamszegi, Balázs and Nagy, László and Ács, Tamás and Morgós, A and Árvai, Mátyás and Pinke, Zsolt László and Kern, Zoltán (2022) Coupled Hydro-Climatic Signals in the Radial Growth of Oaks Benefitting from Groundwater Availability. WATER, 14 (20). ISSN 2073-4441

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Lowland forests benefiting from groundwater availability are important ecosystems in Central Europe, both from ecological and economic perspectives. Besides a great reduction in their extent in the historical times and further shifts in the land use and water management regimes intensified during the industrial era, continuing changes in the groundwater and overall hydro-climatic conditions can pose significant challenges to them. Although tree-ring analyses serve as widely used tools to assess the climatic impact on tree growth and vitality, few studies have attempted to investigate the effects of subsurface hydrology on interannual fluctuations in xylem production. In this study, we compared the tree-ring width series of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) from a forested area in southwestern Hungary with the time series of monthly groundwater depth and climatic variables over the period of 1920–2017 with a specific focus on 1961–2017. The radial growth of the studied trees showed the strongest relationship with late winter and early spring groundwater and drought conditions preceding the growing season, differing from the commonly reported climatic signals marked by early summer meteorological conditions of the vegetation season. The results suggest that the groundwater recharge during the dormant period preceding the vegetation season and the groundwater levels in early spring were among the key limiting factors on tree growth in the study area. In the growing years starting with a sufficiently high groundwater table, even scarce summer precipitation did not seem to limit radial growth drastically. However, unfavorable shifts in climatic conditions during the past few decades and the associated uncertainties in the future groundwater regime imply that additional active measures aimed at maintaining and restoring groundwater conditions may well be highly beneficial for sustaining groundwater-dependent forest ecosystems and their productivity.

Tudományterület / tudományág

agricultural sciences > forestry and wildlife management


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Soproni Egyetem

Item Type: Article
SWORD Depositor: Teszt Sword
Depositing User: Csaba Horváth
Identification Number: MTMT:33185659
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2022 08:47
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 08:47

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