Evidence of a climate-change-induced shift in European beech distribution : an unequal response in the elevation, temperature and precipitation gradients
ID Klopčič, Matija (Author), ID Rozman, Andrej (Author), ID Bončina, Andrej (Author)

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Climate is a strong predictor of the geographic distribution of tree species, and thus climate change may trigger shifts in the distribution of a tree species and/or its demographic structure. In the study, we aim to comprehensively compare the distributions of four life stages of European beech (Fagus sylvatica) (i.e., regeneration, recruitment, young trees and mature trees) in forests in Slovenia, Central Europe, which are characterized by strong gradients of elevation (ELV), temperature (TEMP) and precipitation (PREC) to detect possible shifts in distribution and demography. Beech life stages were surveyed on 3366 plots. To depict disparities between ELV, TEMP and PREC distributions of beech life stages, we applied several non-parametric methods: basic statistical tests to study differences in medians, means, and 1st and 9th deciles; generalized additive models to study shifts in the optimum; and extreme value analysis to study shifts at the trailing and leading edges. A substantial shift in juvenile beech stages upward and toward colder sites was detected. However, the shift was not uniform along the distributions; the most significant shift was detected at the leading edge of ELV (+73 m) and TEMP (−2.6 °C), but surprisingly there was no beech movement identified at the trailing edge. The observed shift may be a result of the interplay between climate change, high spatial variability in microclimate, unexceptional droughts in the recent past, changes in forest use and possible limitations in the migration ability of beech and its adaptation capacity.

Keywords:Fagus sylvatica, successional life stages, regeneration, recruitment, mature trees, generalized additive model, extreme value analysis
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:BF - Biotechnical Faculty
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Number of pages:16 str.
Numbering:Vol. 13, iss. 8, art. 1311
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-138852 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:1999-4907
DOI:10.3390/f13081311 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:118899715 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:23.08.2022
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Shortened title:Forests
COBISS.SI-ID:3872166 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.

Secondary language

Keywords:bukev, Fagus sylvatica, življenjske faze, mladje, vrast, odraslo drevje, posplošeni aditivni modeli, analiza ekstremnih vrednosti


Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Project number:J4-1765
Name:Razvoj gozdnih ekosistemov in klimatske spremembe: učinki ujm večjega obsega in segrevanja ozračja

Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Project number:P4-0059
Name:Gozd, gozdarstvo in obnovljivi gozdni viri

Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Project number:I0-0022
Name:Mreža raziskovalnih infrastrukturnih centrov Univerze v Ljubljani (MRIC UL)

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