TreeNet

The biological drought and growth indicator network

Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (5)

Rain over the weekend reduced the tree water deficit (TWD) in most trees of all species. However, we are far from an average situation. Most trees are still showing TWDs much higher than the average of the past years. Drought stress is still very high and more rain is needed to compensate the water deficit.

Tree water deficits (TWD) of Swiss forest trees in three different regions. Dots indicate the average of the past 5 days. Bars indicate the average of the past 7 years.

The network TreeNet detects with point dendrometers how much tree stems shrink during dry periods. This so-called tree water deficit (TWD) indicates how much trees are suffering from dry conditions. The higher the value is the more a tree is thirsty. The figure shows that the drought-stress situation improved with rain over the weekend in all regions in the Alps and in the lowlands. Analyzed were beech, spruce, pine, fir and oak trees. The TWDs are weighted with a species-specific factor in order to account for different TWD amplitudes of different species.

 

 

Tree water deficits (TWD) of spruce trees in three different regions. Dots indicate the average of the past 5 days. Bars indicate the average of the past 7 years.

Spruce is the species still showing the greatest deviations from the average TWDs measured since 2011 in the Valais (Alp Wallis) and in the Swiss lowlands (Mittelland). Close to the average of the past years is the TWD of spruce in the northern part of the Alps (Alp Nord).

Spruce is known to respond very sensitive to heat and drought which is clearly visible in the current TWD data. We expect negative implications for the whole tree physiology incl. reduced growth, shedding of needles and in extreme cases tree death.

 

 

 

Tree water deficits (TWD) of beech trees in three different regions. Dots indicate the average of the past 5 days. Bars indicate the average of the past 7 years.

TWDs of beech are still above the average of the past years in the lowlands of Switzerland (Mittelland) and in the Vallais (Alp Wallis). The drought-stress of the trees in the Vallais even increased. The amount of rain was not enough to recover the trees in the past 5 days. Beech trees with already brown leaves are reported from all parts of Switzerland. Particularly sun-exposed forests and trees along the forest edges are particularly affected. The leaf senescence of beech is up to two months earlier than in past years.

 

 

 

See also the earlier reports about the development and interpretation of tree water deficits in trees:

See further the media reports about drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland.

TreeNet Switzerland collects continuous data on stem radius fluctuations measured with point dendrometers from about 250 trees all over Switzerland and estimates drought and growth indicators for Swiss forest ecosystems. We closely collaborate with the Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Programme (LWF/WSL), the ETHZ and the Institute for Applied Plant Biology (IAP).

For more information about the actual drought in Switzerland refer to drought.ch

16 August 2018, RZ and MH

 


TreeNet in the News

3Sat – nano

Bäume leiden unter akutem Wassermangel

Die Wissenschaftssendung nano synchronisiert den SRF Beitrag ins Deutsche.

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SRF – Schweiz aktuell

Bäume leiden unter akutem Wassermangel

Wegen der Trockenheit welken die Blätter der Laubbäume, insbesondere jene der Buche, vielerorts früher als normal. Ein neues Projekt der Eidgenössischen Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft soll zeigen, ob und wie sich die Buche im nächsten Jahr vom akuten Wasserdefizit erholen können.

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schweizerbauer.ch – sda

Bäume leiden unter Trockenheit

Bäume leiden in der aktuellen Hitzeperiode unter Trockenstress. Ein vermehrtes Absterben einzelner Bäume ist dadurch auch in Wäldern nicht auszuschliessen. Damit es aber zu einem Artenwandel auch im Mittelland käme, müssten sich Sommer wie der diesjährige mehrere Jahre wiederholen.

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Die Trockenheit macht den Bäumen zu schaffen. So ist ein vermehrtes ­Absterben einzelner Bäume auch in Wäldern nicht auszuschliessen.

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20minuten

So belastet die Hitze die Gesundheit und die Natur

Die Hitzewelle lässt die Ozonwerte ansteigen. Während Obstbauern jubeln, leiden die Bäume. Bienen geben weniger Honig, und Gewitter sind in weiter Ferne.

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NZZ

Wie der Wald unter der Trockenheit leidet

Der akute Wassermangel lässt das Laub vieler Buchen vorzeitig welken, mancherorts brechen ganze Äste ab. Wie schnell sich der geschwächte Wald vom Trockenstress erholt, hängt auch davon ab, was das nächste Jahr bringt.

Lukas Denzler, 


 


Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (4)

Drought intensity reaches a new (last?) peak in this summer. Forest trees of all regions investigated are heavily affected according to our drought-indicator TWD (tree water deficit). The values are far above the TWDs measured in the past eight years and indicate a very high drought stress.

Tree water deficits (TWD) of Swiss forest trees

The network TreeNet detects with point dendrometers how much tree stems shrink during dry periods. This so-called tree water deficit (TWD) indicates how much trees are suffering from dry conditions. The higher the value is the more a tree is thirsty. The figure shows that the situation accentuated in all three regions in the Alps and in the lowlands. Analyzed were beech, spruce, pine, fir and oak trees. The TWDs are weighted with a species-specific factor in order to account for different TWD amplitudes of different species.

 

Spruce is the species showing the greatest deviations from the average TWDs measured since 2011. This species is known to respond very sensitive to heat and drought which is clearly visible in the current TWD data. We expect negative implications for the whole tree physiology incl. reduced growth, shedding of needles and in extreme cases tree death.

 

 

 

Beech shows TWDs above the average of the last years in the lowlands of Switzerland (Mittelland). The rain of the past days in the Vallais (Alp Wallis) led to a decrease of the TWD in this region. Beech trees with already brown leaves are reported from all parts of Switzerland. Particularly sun-exposed forests and trees along the forest edges are particularly affected.

See also the earlier reports about the development and interpretation of tree water deficits in trees:

TreeNet Switzerland collects continuous data on stem radius fluctuations measured with point dendrometers from about 250 trees all over Switzerland and estimates drought and growth indicators for Swiss forest ecosystems. We closely collaborate with the Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Programme (LWF/WSL), the ETHZ and the Institute for Applied Plant Biology (IAP).

For more information about the actual drought in Switzerland refer to drought.ch

 


Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (3)

Drought in Switzerland is further intensifying. Particularly forest trees in the lowlands (Mittelland) show steadily increasing tree water deficit-induced stem shrinkage (TWD, Baumwasserdefizit). The values are far above the TWDs measured in the past eight years and indicate a very high drought stress.

 

The network TreeNet detects with point dendrometers how much tree stems shrink during dry periods. This so-called tree water deficit (TWD) indicates how much trees are suffering from dry conditions. The higher the value is the more a tree is thirsty. The figure shows that the situation accentuated in the Swiss lowlands (Mittelland) and also in the Valais (Alp Valais). No further increase of TWDs has been measured in the northern part of the Alps. Analyzed were beech, spruce, pine and oak trees.

See also the earlier reports about the development and interpretation of tree water deficits in trees:

TreeNet Switzerland collects continuous data on stem radius fluctuations measured with point dendrometers from about 250 trees all over Switzerland and estimates drought and growth indicators for Swiss forest ecosystems. We closely collaborate with the Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Programme (LWF/WSL), the ETHZ and the Institute for Applied Plant Biology (IAP).

For more information about the actual drought in Switzerland refer to drought.ch

 


Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (2)

Rain over the weekend brought some stress relief to forest trees in Switzerland, particularly in the Northern Alps and in the Valais (see situation on July 16). In these two regions, the tree water deficit-induced stem shrinkage (TWD, Baumwasserdefizit) decreased and the current TWDs returned to a range of values measured also in the years before (since 2011).

The network TreeNet detects with point dendrometers how much tree stems shrink during dry periods. This so-called tree water deficit (TWD) indicates how much trees are suffering from dry conditions. The higher the value is the more a tree is thirsty. The figure shows that the TWDs generally decreased since the last evaluation on July 16. This means the lack of water in forest trees and thus drought stress has decreased.

However, the situation in the lowlands of Switzerland (Mittelland) remains exceptional in terms of very high TWD. Particularly spruce trees show TWDs in a range not measured before yet.

The figure shows three regions of Switzerland: the region in the northern part of the Alps (Alp Nord), the Valais, a valley located in the central Alps, and the lowlands north of the Alps (Mittelland). The red columns indicate the mean tree water deficit (TWD) of the five days from 19-24 of July 2018 and the orange columns indicate the mean value of the same days in the years 2011-2017. The black symbols indicate the range of values occurring during this time period. The figure includes several tree species.

The figure shows TWDs of different tree species within each of the three regions. In the northern Alps fir, pine, and spruce currently are within the TWD range of the years before. This region shows the greatest reduction of TWD compared to a week ago. TWD of beech, oak, and pine in the central Alpine valley Wallis are still above the average TWD of the past years but also to a lesser extend than a week ago. TWDs of spruce in the Swiss lowlands (Mittelland) are far higher than the TWDs measured in the past years. Here the situation has become even more accentuated than a week ago. We conclude that spruce trees in the Mittelland are currently affected most by drought.

The lack of rain and the consequent drought effects are very heterogenous over the Mittelland. The area of Basel (northwest of Switzerland) seems to be particularly dry at the moment (20min.ch). Unfortunately, both TreeNet stations in this area are in revision and currently do not send data.

TreeNet Switzerland collects continuous data on stem radius fluctuations measured with point dendrometers from trees all over Switzerland and estimates drought and growth indicators for Swiss forest ecosystems. We closely collaborate with the Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Programme (LWF/WSL), the ETHZ and the Institute for Applied Plant Biology (IAP).

For more information about the actual drought in Switzerland refer to drought.ch

See also:

Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (1)

Current drought effects on forest trees in Switzerland (3)

TreeNet.info in the News