Water Balance and Forest Productivity in Mediterranean Mountain Environments

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Giuseppe Scarascia-Mugnozza *
Giovanni Callegari
Antonella Veltri
Giorgio Matteucci
(*) Corresponding Author:
Giuseppe Scarascia-Mugnozza | mikimos@mac.com

Abstract

The availability of water resources is one of the major drivers affecting forest and agricultural productivity. The sensitivity of Mediterranean forest species to water shortage is becoming even more relevant in relation to climate changes, that for Southern Europe could lead to an increase in temperature of 2 to 3 °C, paralleled by a decrease of 5 to 15% of summer rainfall. It is then important to study the relationship between water balance and productivity of important forest tree species such as beech and mountain pines that represent the upper limit of forest vegetation in almost all the Apennines range. In the present paper, the measurements of water balance, evapotranspiration, carbon exchange and productivity in beech and pine forests of central-southern Italy (Abruzzo and Calabria regions) are reported. The results are obtained in the course of several years of experimentation with innovative techniques and integrated at the canopy level.

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