Monocultures of a number of the UK’s most economically vital conifers could also be extra resilient to spring drought than mixed-species forests, in response to new analysis by the College of Stirling
Though mixed-species forests might be extra productive and supply a wider vary of social, environmental and financial advantages than these containing a single species, they will not be as resilient to drought, researchers discovered.
Utilizing a long-term experimental forest in Ardross, close to Inverness in Scotland, they measured the influence of a spring drought in 2012 on monocultures of two species – Sitka spruce and Scots pine – in comparison with mixtures of the identical two species rising collectively in numerous proportions.
Scots pine and Sitka spruce are two of essentially the most economically vital timber species within the UK, collectively making up 68% of all of the UK’s coniferous forest space, with Sitka spruce alone comprising 51%.
PhD researcher Tom Ovenden, of the Division of Organic and Environmental Sciences, who led the examine, stated: “As anticipated, we discovered proof that Scots pine was extra proof against drought than Sitka spruce.
“Nonetheless, to our shock, monocultures of each species gave the impression to be extra resilient to spring drought than any of the mixtures of the 2 species that we thought-about.
“As we quickly attempt to adapt our forests to cope with the challenges of a altering local weather, it’s vital that choices on how finest to attain this are based mostly on strong scientific proof.
“This work is vital as a result of it demonstrates that merely including extra tree species to a forest doesn’t routinely improve its resilience.
“As an alternative, the existence of any useful results of species combination possible relies on which species are blended, their traits and the way they work together.
“Understanding find out how to successfully improve forest resilience is vital, as the power of forests to sequester carbon, present habitat for a spread of species and to proceed to ship a spread of ecosystems companies relies on them being strong to local weather change.”