The effects of different combinations of simulated climate change-related stressors on juveniles of seven forest tree species grown as mono-species and mixed cultures
AbstractThe aim of the study was to assess changes in performance and competition for light of juveniles of seven forest tree species, Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies, Betula pendula, Alnus glutinosa, Populus tremula, Quercus robur and Fraxinus excelsior, grown in mono-species and mixed cultures with isolated potted roots under the impact of different combinations of climate change-related stressors, simulated in a phytotron under the elevated CO2 concentration during one growing season, as follows: i) heat + elevated humidity (HW); ii) heat + frost + drought (HFD); iii) heat + elevated humidity + increased UV-B radiation doses + elevated ozone concentration (HWUO); and iv) heat + frost + drought + increased UV-B radiation doses + elevated ozone concentration (HFDUO). For the mixed cultures, three typical species' mixtures were used: i) P. sylvestris, B. pendula and P. abies, ii) P. abies, B. pendula and Q. robur and iii) F. excelsior, A. glutinosa and P. tremula. For the control, the same material was grown outside the phytotron in ambient conditions. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that the effects of the complex treatments, species and species by treatment interactions were highly significant in most of the biomass, growth, physiological and biochemical traits studied. Pattern of species culture had highly significant effect on physiological and biochemical traits (except for H2O2 concentration); meanwhile it was of low significance for biomass and growth traits. Pattern of species culture by treatment interaction was highly significant in all traits, suggesting that the effects of the applied complex treatments vary depending on the pattern of species culture. Under the hot wet conditions the highest stem volume index, tree biomass, and growth were observed in deciduous P. tremula, A. glutinosa and B. pendula with more clearly pronounced differences in performance between different patterns of species cultures than in ambient conditions showing that the enhanced growth conditions facilitate revealing the potential and specific requirements of the fast-growers. P. abies in all treatments had lower stem volume index and tree biomass than in ambient conditions with no significant differences between the patterns of species culture, indicating that it suffered irrespectively of light availability in different cultures. The differences between performances of most tree species in mono- and mixed cultures in HFD treatment were rather small and nonsignificant. A complex HWUO treatment caused further reduction in tree biomass in all species and culture patterns except for mono-species cultures of A. glutinosa and B. pendula. The most complex HFDUO treatment had the strongest negative effect on biomass of almost all tree species compared to that observed in HW treatment, except for Q. robur and P. sylvestris which biomass and height increments remained higher than those in ambient conditions. This was due to relatively high drought tolerance and compensatory effects of the increased CO2 concentration and temperature. Physiological and biochemical responses of species in different patterns of species cultures across treatments were very variable although often did not reflect in the effects on growth and biomass traits . The observed changes in performance of different tree species in different patterns of species cultures under various complex treatments allowed inferring that climate change may condition certain changes in competitiveness of some tree species resulting in atypical ecological successions of species and forest ecosystems. Keywords: trees, complex treatments, controlled environment, competition, biomass, growth, physiology, biochemistry, phytotron.