CR 58:81-95 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01179

Modelling the impact of climate change on the productivity and water-use efficiency of a central European beech forest

Thomas Rötzer1,*, Yan Liao1, Klaus Goergen2,4, Gebhard Schüler3, Hans Pretzsch1

1Chair for Forest Growth and Yield, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany
2Public Research Centre—Gabriel Lippmann 41, 4422 Belvaux, Luxembourg
3Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry Rhineland-Palatinate—International Projects and Networking, 67705 Trippstadt, Germany
4Present address: Meteorological Institute, University of Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 20, 53121 Bonn, Germany

ABSTRACT: This scenario study is focused on the analysis and causal explanation of the effects of regional climate change on the productivity and water-use efficiency of a pure European beech Fagus sylvatica (L.) forest in western Germany. An ensemble of 9 regional climate model (RCM) simulation results based on the A1B emissions scenario from the ENSEMBLES project was used, along with local observations to drive the physiological forest growth model BALANCE for a 10 yr period. It simulates biomass increments, as well as productivity and efficiency, under different climatic conditions. Despite the RCM ensemble’s large bandwidth, the results clearly indicate a decrease in total living biomass under future climate conditions compared to initial conditions and BALANCE control simulations. Net primary productivity was significantly reduced by 30% and water-use efficiency—though more uncertain—by 13% for end-of-the-century climate conditions compared to the control runs. In the A1B scenario, the lowered productivity and efficiency of the beech stand under future climate conditions are caused by higher mortality rates, lower water availability and higher drought stress, though partly counterbalanced by longer growing seasons.


KEY WORDS: Regional climate change · Impacts · Forest productivity · Water-use efficiency · Forest growth · Regional modelling · Ensemble data set


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Cite this article as: Rötzer T, Liao Y, Goergen K, Schüler G, Pretzsch H (2013) Modelling the impact of climate change on the productivity and water-use efficiency of a central European beech forest. Clim Res 58:81-95. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01179

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