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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2020 str. 32     <-- 32 -->        PDF

June of the previous year also caused an increase of defoliation, indicating that defoliation status depends on the climate conditions through various mechanisms that influence tree vitality. Beech was especially sensitive to drought or warmer than average years appearing in succession.
A similar relationship was observed between climate conditions and foliar nutrient concentrations where high temperatures during current year summer months negatively influenced nutrient uptake. Furthermore, we established that P and Ca concentrations in beech leaves are sensitive to the lack of precipitation. Temperature variables and precipitation in the previous year influenced the nutritional status of beech trees in the current year, although the results differed according to element in question and month of the year.
High temperatures in May positively influenced beech radial growth, while a wide range of minimum temperatures during March and June had a negative effect. Precipitation was shown to have no apparent effect on beech radial growth, perhaps due to the growth resilience of a healthy beech stand, maintaining radial growth in spite of less than ideal conditions.
Although we were not able to detect direct, significant links among vitality indicators, they all reacted to temperature variables within a current, or the previous year. The negative correlation of K to radial growth points to the effects of K/Ca antagonism in dry years and underlines the importance of nutrition for the health status of beech.
Overall, both high summer temperatures and low precipitation were shown to have the most negative effect, influencing the vitality of beech trees also in subsequent years.
We acknowledge the E-OBS dataset from the EU-FP6 project ENSEMBLES ( and the data providers in the ECA&D project ( Tom Levanič was supported by the following programmes and projects supported by the Slovenian Research Agency: Program and Research Group “Forest biology, ecology and technology” P4-0107, basic research projects J4-5519 “Paleoclimate data enhances drought prediction in the W Balkan Region” and J4-8216 “Mortality of lowland oak forests - consequence of lowering underground water or climate change?”
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