Changes in tree resistance, recovery and resilience across three successive extreme droughts in the northeast Iberian Peninsula

X. Serra-Maluquer, M. Mencuccini, J. Martínez-Vilalta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Understanding which variables affect forest resilience to extreme drought is key to predict future dynamics under ongoing climate change. In this study, we analyzed how tree resistance, recovery and resilience to drought have changed along three consecutive droughts and how they were affected by species, tree size, plot basal area (as a proxy for competition) and climate. We focused on the three most abundant pine species in the northeast Iberian Peninsula: Pinus halepensis, P. nigra and P. sylvestris during the three most extreme droughts recorded in the period 1951–2010 (occurred in 1986, 1994, and 2005–2006). We cored trees from permanent sample plots and used dendrochronological techniques to estimate resistance (ability to maintain growth level during drought), recovery (growth increase after drought) and resilience (capacity to recover pre-drought growth levels) in terms of tree stem basal area increment. Mixed-effects models were used to determine which tree- and plot-level variables were the main determinants of resistance, recovery and resilience, and to test for differences among the studied droughts. Larger trees were significantly less resistant and resilient. Plot basal area effects were only observed for resilience, with a negative impact only during the last drought. Resistance, recovery and resilience differed across the studied drought events, so that the studied populations became less resistant, less resilient and recovered worse during the last two droughts. This pattern suggests an increased vulnerability to drought after successive drought episodes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-354
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • BAI
  • Drought
  • Mediterranean
  • Pinus
  • Resilience


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