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Data from: Thermal differences between juveniles and adults increased over time in European forest trees

Citation

Caron, Maria Mercedes et al. (2021), Data from: Thermal differences between juveniles and adults increased over time in European forest trees, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rfj6q57bh

Abstract

Woody species’ requirements and environmental sensitivity change from seedlings to adults, a process referred to as ontogenetic shift. Such shifts can be increased by climate change. To assess the changes in the difference of temperature experienced by seedlings and adults in the context of climate change, it is essential to have reliable climatic data over long periods that capture the thermal conditions experienced by the individuals throughout their life cycle.

Here we used a unique cross-European database of 2195 pairs of resurveyed forest plots with a mean intercensus time interval of 37 years. We inferred macroclimatic temperature (free-air conditions above tree canopies – representative of the conditions experienced by adult trees) and microclimatic temperature (representative of the juvenile stage at the forest floor, inferred from the relationship between canopy cover, distance to the coast, and below-canopy temperature) at both surveys. We then address the long-term, large-scale, and multitaxa dynamics of the difference between the temperatures experienced by adults and juveniles of 25 temperate tree species.

We found significant, but species-specific, variations in the perceived temperature (calculated from presence/absence data) between life stages during both surveys. Additionally, the difference of the temperature experienced by the adult versus juveniles significantly increased between surveys for eight of 25 species. We found evidence of a relationship between the difference of temperature experienced by juveniles and adults over time and one key functional trait (i.e. leaf area). Together, these results suggest that the temperatures experienced by adults vs juveniles became more decoupled over time for a subset of species, probably due to the combination of climate change and a recorded increase of canopy cover between the surveys resulting in higher rates of macroclimate than microclimate warming.

Synthesis: We document warming and canopy-cover induced changes in the difference of the temperature experienced by juveniles and adults. These findings have implications for forest management adaptation to climate change such as the promotion of tree regeneration by creating suitable species-specific microclimatic conditions. Such adaptive management will help to mitigate the macroclimate changes in the understory layer.

Usage Notes

Macroclimate temperature at the forest canopy (adult layer) and microclimate temperature at the understory (juvenile layer) in a baseline survey and a resurvey

Funding

FONCyT, Award: PICT-2017-2245

FONCyT, Award: PICT-2017-1084

CESAM Visiting Staff Platform (UGent)

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: project 172198

European Research Council

European Research Council, Award: UnderSCORE grant #861957

Czech Academy of Sciences, Award: No. RVO 67985939

Slovak Research and Development Agency , Award: No. APVV-19-0319

European Research Council, Award: ERC Starting Grant FORMICA 757833

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: project 193645

FONCyT, Award: PICT-2017-2245

CESAM Visiting Staff Platform (UGent)

Swiss National Science Foundation, Award: project 172198

Slovak Research and Development Agency, Award: No. APVV-19-0319