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Title: A belowground perspective on the drought sensitivity of forests: Towards improved understanding and simulation

Predicted increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts across the temperate biome have highlighted the need to examine the extent to which forests may differ in their sensitivity to water stress. At present, a rich body of literature exists on how leaf- and stem-level physiology influence tree drought responses; however, less is known regarding the dynamic interactions that occur below ground between roots and soil physical and biological factors. Hence, there is a need to better understand how and why processes occurring below ground influence forest sensitivity to drought. Here, we review what is known about tree species’ below ground strategies for dealing with drought, and how physical and biological characteristics of soils interact with rooting strategies to influence forest sensitivity to drought. Then, we highlight how a below ground perspective of drought can be used in models to reduce uncertainty in predicting the ecosystem consequences of droughts in forests. Lastly, we describe the challenges and opportunities associated with managing forests under conditions of increasing drought frequency and intensity, and explain how a below ground perspective on drought may facilitate improved forest management.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  3. Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN (United States); Univ. du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, QC (Canada)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  5. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  6. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Forest Ecology and Management
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 380; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-1127
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; water stress; ecosystem modeling; drought resilience; rooting strategies; Earth system models; land surface models
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1435681