Data from: Drought legacies are dependent on water table depth, wood anatomy, and drought timing across the eastern U.S.
Kannenberg, Steven A. et al. (2018), Data from: Drought legacies are dependent on water table depth, wood anatomy, and drought timing across the eastern U.S., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4272kh0
Severe droughts can impart long-lasting legacies on forest ecosystems through lagged effects that hinder tree recovery and suppress whole-forest carbon uptake. However, the local climatic and edaphic factors that interact to affect drought legacies in temperate forests remain unknown. Here, we pair a dataset of 143 tree ring chronologies across the mesic forests of the eastern U.S. with historical climate and local soil properties. We found legacy effects to be widespread, the magnitude of which increased markedly in diffuse porous species, sites with deep water tables, and in response to late-season droughts (August – September). Using an ensemble of downscaled climate projections, we additionally show that our sites are projected to drastically increase in water deficit and drought frequency by the end of the century, potentially increasing the size of legacy effects by up to 65% and acting as a significant process shaping forest composition, carbon uptake, and mortality.