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Tree Physiol. 2011 Mar;31(3):287-97. doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpr004. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Provenance-specific growth responses to drought and air warming in three European oak species (Quercus robur, Q. petraea and Q. pubescens).

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  • 1Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Z├╝rcherstrasse 111, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.


Provenance-specific growth responses to experimentally applied drought and air warming were studied in saplings of three European oak species: Quercus robur, Quercus petraea and Quercus pubescens. Four provenances of each species were grown in large open-top chambers and subjected to four climates: control, periodic drought, air warming or their combination in 3 subsequent years. Overall growth responses were found among species and provenances, with drought reducing shoot height growth and stem diameter growth and air warming stimulating shoot height growth but reducing stem diameter growth and root length growth. Differential growth responses in shoots, stems and roots resulted in altered allometric growth relations. Root length growth to shoot height growth increased in response to drought but decreased in response to air warming. Stem diameter growth to shoot height growth decreased in response to air warming. The growth responses in shoots and stems were highly variable among provenances indicating provenance-specific sensitivity to drought and air warming, but this response variability did not reflect local adaptation to climate conditions of provenance origin. Shoot height growth was found to be more sensitive to drought in provenances from northern latitudes than in provenances from southern latitudes, suggesting that genetic factors related to the postglacial immigration history of European oaks might have interfered with selective pressure at provenance origins.

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