Data from: Quercus suber dieback alters soil respiration and nutrient availability in Mediterranean forests
Avila, Jose Manuel; Gallardo, Antonio; Ibáñez, Beatriz; Gómez-Aparicio, Lorena (2016), Data from: Quercus suber dieback alters soil respiration and nutrient availability in Mediterranean forests, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6nd4k
An increase in tree mortality rates has been recently detected in forests world-wide. However, few works have focused on the potential consequences of forest dieback for ecosystem functioning. Here we assessed the effect of Quercus suber dieback on carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in two types of Mediterranean forests (woodlands and closed forests) affected by the aggressive pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. We used a spatially explicit neighbourhood approach to analyse the direct effects of Q. suber dieback on soil variables, comparing the impact of Q. suber trees with different health status, as well as its potential long-term indirect effects, comparing the impact of non-declining coexistent species. Quercus suber dieback translated into lower soil respiration rates and phosphorus availability, whereas its effects on nitrogen varied depending on forest type. Coexistent species differed strongly from Q. suber in their effects on nutrient availability, but not on soil respiration rates. Our models showed low interannual but high intra-annual variation in the ecosystem impacts of tree dieback. Synthesis. Our results support that tree dieback might have important short- and long-term impacts on ecosystem processes in Mediterranean forests. With this work, we provide valuable insights to fill the existent gap in knowledge on the ecosystem-level impacts of forest dieback in general and P. cinnamomi-driven mortality in particular. Because the activity and range of this pathogen is predicted to increase due to climate warming, these impacts could also increase in the near future altering ecosystem functioning world-wide.