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Plastic growth response of european beech provenances to dry site conditions

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Due to projected global warming, there is a great concern about the ability of European beech to adapt to future climate conditions. Provenance trials provide an excellent basis to assess the potential of various provenances to adjust to given climate conditions. In this study we compared the performance of four European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) provenances growing in a provenance trial at the Fruška Gora Mountain, Serbia. Three of the investigated provenances (Höllerbach and Hasbruch from Germany and Vrani Kamen from Croatia) originate from moist sites, with annual precipitation sums being twice as high as at the provenance trial in Serbia. The performance of these provenances are compared to the growth of the local provenance Fruška Gora which is well adapted to dry site conditions. We analysed tree-ring width, mean vessel area, vessel density and water-conductive area for the period from 2006 to 2012. In spite of differences in climate conditions at their place of origin all beech provenances showed a similar pattern in radial increment. Also the wood- anatomical variables showed similar inter-annual patterns for all provenances and no significant differences between the provenances. This indicates that beech provenances from moist environments can adjust to the relatively dry temperate climate in Serbia.

Affiliations: 1: University of Novi Sad, Institute of Lowland Forestry and Environment, Antona Cehova 13, 21000 Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia; 2: Wageningen University, Forest Ecology and Management Group, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands


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