|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||7 Jan 2019|
Recent global warming and severe droughts have caused decline and forest mortality worldwide. In addition, climatic models predict that these extreme events will be more severe and frequent in the next decades. Nonetheless, tree physiological mechanisms under drought conditions and the key drivers inducing tree decline are still poorly understood.
Trees can suﬀer two mechanisms inducing drought decline and even death: carbon starvation or hydraulic failure. Both mechanisms are related to a reduction in water availability and then photosynthesis, which imply a decrease in carbon sequestration. Thus, xylem anatomical parameters oﬀer a unique opportunity to evaluate how wood formation responds to severe drought within a long-term perspective. Dendroanatomy is a new approach where wood-anatomical traits are quantitatively measured to assess cell anatomical characteristics (e.g. lumen area, cell wall thickness, area of parenchyma rays) along series of dated tree rings.
Araucaria araucana is an endemic species of the temperate rainforest in Chile and Argentina, declared a natural monument in 1990 and classified as Endangered by the IUCN in 2013. In recent years mega-drought and warming have been inducing decline and mortality phenomena in many stands. These enduring extreme conditions are challenging the potential of these ecosystems to recover.
The aim of this research is to determine the effective drivers of tree decline by applying cutting edge techniques and analyzing wood-anatomical traits (tracheid size and cell wall thickness) in A. araucana trees across its natural distribution range.
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