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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Tree mortality across biomes is promoted by drought intensity, lower wood density and higher specific leaf area
Author(s): Greenwood, Sarah
Ruiz-Benito, Paloma
Martínez-Vilalta, Jordi
Lloret, Francisco
Kitzberger, Thomas
Allen, Craig D
Fensham, Rod
Laughlin, Daniel C
Kattge, Jens
Bönisch, Gerhard
Kraft, Nathan J B
Jump, Alistair S
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Keywords: Climate change
forest dynamics
functional traits
Issue Date: Apr-2017
Citation: Greenwood S, Ruiz-Benito P, Martínez-Vilalta J, Lloret F, Kitzberger T, Allen CD, Fensham R, Laughlin DC, Kattge J, Bönisch G, Kraft NJB & Jump AS (2017) Tree mortality across biomes is promoted by drought intensity, lower wood density and higher specific leaf area. Ecology Letters, 20 (4), pp. 539-553.
Assessing ecosystem recovery after extreme drought-related dieback events
Abstract: Drought events are increasing globally, and reports of consequent forest mortality are widespread. However, due to a lack of a quantitative global synthesis, it is still not clear whether drought-induced mortality rates differ among global biomes and whether functional traits influence the risk of drought-induced mortality. To address these uncertainties, we performed a global meta-analysis of 58 studies of drought-induced forest mortality. Mortality rates were modelled as a function of drought, temperature, biomes, phylogenetic and functional groups, and functional traits. We identified a consistent global-scale response, where mortality increased with drought severity (log mortality (trees trees-1 year-1) increased 0.46 (95% CI=0.2-0.7) with one SPEI unit drought intensity). We found no significant differences in the magnitude of the response depending on forest biomes or between angiosperms and gymnosperms or evergreen and deciduous tree species. Functional traits explained some of the variation in drought responses between species (i.e. increased from 30 to 37% when wood density and specific leaf area were included). Tree species with denser wood and lower specific leaf area showed lower mortality responses. Our results illustrate the value of functional traits for understanding patterns of drought-induced tree mortality and suggest that mortality could become increasingly widespread in the future.
DOI Link: 10.1111/ele.12748
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Greenwood, S., Ruiz-Benito, P., Martínez-Vilalta, J., Lloret, F., Kitzberger, T., Allen, C. D., Fensham, R., Laughlin, D. C., Kattge, J., Bönisch, G., Kraft, N. J. B. and Jump, A. S. (2017), Tree mortality across biomes is promoted by drought intensity, lower wood density and higher specific leaf area. Ecol Lett, 20: 539–553, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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