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Strategies shrubby junipers adopt to tolerate drought differ by site

Drought-induced dieback episodes are globally reported among forest ecosystems but they have been understudied in scrublands. Chronically-stressed individuals are supposed to be more vulnerable prior to drought which triggers death. Drought-triggered dieback and mortality events affecting Mediterranean Juniperus phoenicea scrublands were analyzed in two sites with contrasting climate and soil conditions located in Spain. The radial growth patterns of coexisting living and dead junipers, including the calculation of growth statistics used as early-warning signals, quantified growth response to climate, were characterized and the wood C and O isotope discrimination was analyzed. In the inland, continental site with rocky substrates (Yaso, Huesca, N Spain), dead junipers grew less than living junipers about three decades prior to the dieback started in 2016. However, in the coastal, mild site with sandy soils (Doñana, Huelva, SW Spain), dead junipers were smaller but grew more than living junipers about two decades before the dieback onset in 2005. The only common patterns between sites were the higher growth coherence in both living and dead junipers prior to the dieback, and the decrease in growth persistence of dead junipers. Cool and wet conditions in the prior winter and current spring, and cool summer conditions enhanced juniper growth. In Doñana, growth of living individuals was more reduced by warm July conditions than in the case of dead individuals. Higher ?13C values in Yaso indicate also more pronounced drought stress. In Yaso, dead junipers presented lower ?18O values, but the opposite occurred in Doñana suggesting different changes in stomatal conductance prior to death. Warm summer conditions enhance evapotranspiration rates and trigger dieback in this shallow-rooted species, particularly in sites with a poor water-holding capacity. Chronic, slow growth is not always a reliable predictor of drought-triggered mortality. informacion[at] Camarero et al (2020) Dieback and mortality of junipers caused by drought: Dissimilar growth and wood isotope patterns preceding shrub death. Agr Forest Meteorol 291, 108078. DOI 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108078
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Effects of the protection of aeolian sands on the hydroperiod

Effects of the protection of aeolian sands on the hydroperiod

Mediterranean temporary ponds on Doñana's aeolian sands form an extensive system of small dynamic water bodies, dependent on precipitation and groundwater, of considerable importance for biodiversity conservation. Different areas of the aeolian sands have received different levels of environmental protection since 1969, and this has influenced the degree of conservation and the flooding dynamic of these temporary surface waters. The Landsat series of satellite images from 1985 to 2014 was used to study the temporal dynamic of small temporary water bodies on the aeolian sands in relation to the protection level and to distance to water abstraction pressures from agriculture and residential areas. The results show that even with small and ephemeral water bodies optical remote sensing time-series are an effective way to study their flooding temporal dynamics. The protected areas of the aeolian sands hold a better preserved system of temporary ponds, with a flooding dynamic that fluctuates with precipitation. The unprotected area shows an increase in mean hydroperiod duration, and surface flooded, and a decline in hydroperiod variability. This seems to be due to the creation of irrigation ponds and the artificialization of the flooding regime of the natural temporary ponds, which either receive excess irrigation water or dry-up due to the lowering of the groundwater table level. Although a decline in hydroperiod duration of temporary ponds is seen as negative to the system, an increase in hydroperiod of surface waters due to artificialization, or a decline in variability cannot be considered as positive compensatory effects. informacion[at] Bustamante et al (2016) Effect of protection level in the hydroperiod of water bodies on Doñana's aeolian sands. Remote Sens doi:10.3390/rs8100867