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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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Impacts of groundwater abstraction on temporary ponds in Doñana

Impacts of groundwater abstraction on temporary ponds in Doñana

Water level changes have been monitored over 25 years in several temporary ponds located at different distances to a pumping area of a tourist resort fringing the Donana National Park (SW Spain). The numerical model MIKE SHE was set up to simulate pond water levels and hydroperiod fluctuations. It was calibrated for nine hydrological years and validated for two periods of eight hydrological years each to assess whether the duration of the pond wet phase (hydroperiod) significantly deviated from an expected pattern driven by rainfall and evapotranspiration. The model output indicated a satisfactory performance for all simulations. This approach provided two main conclusions: a) a long-term increasing trend in water losses on the pond water balance which has not been followed by a corresponding decreasing trend in rainfall, and b) these water losses were highest in the pond located at < 1 km to the pumping area and lowest in the pond located at a further distance (5.6 km) and at a lower altitude. These results suggest that, in the long run, a small groundwater abstraction rate has exerted a high hydrological pressure on the closest pond to the pumping area. informacion[at] Dimitriou et al (2017) Hydrodynamic numerical modelling of the water level decline in four temporary ponds of the Doñana National Park (SW Spain). J Arid Environ