Assessing the roles of temperature, carbon inputs and airborne pollen as drivers of fructification in European temperate deciduous forests
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We aimed at identifying which drivers control the spatio-temporal variability of fruit production in three major European temperate deciduous tree species: Quercus robur, Quercus petraea and Fagus sylvatica. We analysed the relations of fruit production with airborne pollen, carbon and water resources and meteorological data in 48 French forests over 14 years (1994–2007). In oak, acorn production was mainly related to temperature conditions during the pollen emission period, supporting the pollen synchrony hypothesis. In beech, a temperature signal over the two previous years eclipsed the airborne pollen load. Fruit production in Quercus and Fagus was related to climate drivers, carbon inputs and airborne pollen through strongly nonlinear, genus-specific relations. Quercus and Fagus also differed as regards the secondary growth versus fructification trade-off. While negative relationships were observed between secondary growth and fruit production in beech, more productive years benefited to both secondary growth and reproductive effort in oak.
KeywordsBeech Temperate oaks Fructification Gross primary productivity Pollen Temperature Secondary growth
This paper builds on data gathered over thousands of hours of field and technical work done by: the Office National des Forêts (ONF) foresters, who collected and classified litterfall data; and collaborators of the RNSA network who prepared and analysed pollen observation data. We warmly thank them for their work. We thank Hilaire Martin and Baco Said-Allaoui for their work on early related projects, Sebastien Daviller and Raphaël Aussenac for their helpful technical assistance, and Valentin Journé for pointing papers on the seasonality of fruit production in beech. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments that helped improving the paper.
FL, ND and ED designed the research. FL and ND analysed the data and wrote the manuscript, with inputs from ED, SC, SM, LC, and MN collected and prepared the fructification data. FL collected and prepared the ring width and climate data. ND prepared the CASTANEA simulations and the pollen data.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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