Towards species-level forecasts of drought-induced tree mortality risk

De Kauwe, Martin G., Sabot, Manon E.B., Medlyn, Belinda E., Pitman, Andrew J., Meir, Patrick, Cernusak, Lucas A., Gallagher, Rachael, Ukkola, Anna M., Rifai, Sami W., and Choat, Brendan (2022) Towards species-level forecasts of drought-induced tree mortality risk. New Phytologist, 235 (1). pp. 94-110.

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Predicting species-level responses to drought at the landscape scale is critical to reducing uncertainty in future terrestrial carbon and water cycle projections.

We embedded a stomatal optimisation model in the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE) land surface model and parameterised the model for 15 canopy dominant eucalypt tree species across South-Eastern Australia (mean annual precipitation range: 344–1424 mm yr−1). We conducted three experiments: applying CABLE to the 2017–2019 drought; a 20% drier drought; and a 20% drier drought with a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

The severity of the drought was highlighted as for at least 25% of their distribution ranges, 60% of species experienced leaf water potentials beyond the water potential at which 50% of hydraulic conductivity is lost due to embolism. We identified areas of severe hydraulic stress within-species’ ranges, but we also pinpointed resilience in species found in predominantly semiarid areas. The importance of the role of CO2 in ameliorating drought stress was consistent across species.

Our results represent an important advance in our capacity to forecast the resilience of individual tree species, providing an evidence base for decision-making around the resilience of restoration plantings or net-zero emission strategies.

Item ID: 73771
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: Australia, cavitation resistance, drought tolerance, land surface model, plant hydraulics, species
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors New Phytologist © 2022 New Phytologist Foundation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE170100023, ARC DP190101823, ARC FL190100003, ARC DE200100086
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 08:14
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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