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Query: "author" (Jernej Jevšenak) .

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Climate–growth relationships in Laurus azorica - a dominant tree in the Azorean Laurel forest
Diogo C. Pavão, Jernej Jevšenak, Lurdes Borges Silva, Rui Bento Elias, Luis Silva, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Forests on oceanic islands, such as the Azores archipelago, enable interesting dendroclimatic research, given their pronounced climatic gradients over short geographical distances, despite the less pronounced seasonality. The Lauraceae play an essential ecological role in Macaronesian natural forests. An example is Laurus azorica (Seub.) Franco, a relevant species given its high frequency and physiognomic dominance in Azorean laurel forests. This study aims to quantify climate–growth relationships in L. azorica using a dendroecological approach. We sampled four stands at São Miguel and two stands at Terceira islands, for a total of 206 trees. Following standard dendrochronological methods and rigorous sample selection procedures, we obtained relatively low rbar values and high temporal autocorrelation. Using a stepwise Random Forest analysis followed by Generalized Linear Models calculation, we found prominent effects of present and previous year temperature, but a low precipitation signal on growth rings, with some model variation between stands. Our results agreed with previous observations for broad-leaved species with diffuse porous wood, contributing to increase the baseline dendroecological knowledge about Azorean forests. Due to the high levels of within- and between-stand variation, and to refine the climatic signal analysis, complementary approaches should be explored in the future.
Keywords: Azores, dendroclimatology, generalized linear models, laurel forest, Macaronesia, random forest
Published in DiRROS: 18.01.2023; Views: 86; Downloads: 59
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Tree rings, wood density and climate–growth relationships of four Douglas-fir provenances in sub-Mediterranean Slovenia
Luka Krajnc, Jožica Gričar, Jernej Jevšenak, Polona Hafner, Robert Brus, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Tree rings, wood density and the climate–growth relationship of four Douglas-fir provenances were analysed separately for the juvenile and adult phases. Four provenances were selected from an existing IUFRO provenance trial planted in 1971 based on their diameter at breast height and vitality. Increment cores were extracted from individual trees, on which we measured tree-ring widths (RW), earlywood widths (EWW) and latewood widths (LWW). Wood density was assessed in standing trees using resistance drilling. The climate–growth correlations were calculated between provenance chronologies of RW, EWW, LWW and latewood share, and the day-wise aggregated Standardised Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). The analysis was done separately for the juvenile and mature phases of growth. Provenances 1064 (Jefferson) and 1080 (Yelm) exhibited larger annual radial increments than provenances 1028 (Merrit) and 1089 (Cathlamet). The two provenances with the highest annual radial increment in the juvenile phase did not exhibit the same trend in the adult phase. In all provenances, RW, and consequently EWW and LWW, were wider in the juvenile than in adult phase. The share of latewood was in all cases higher in juvenile wood than in mature wood. All four provenances had similar wood densities in both analyzed growth phases. Our analysis showed that when selecting the most promising provenance for planting, possible changes in relative growth rate from the juvenile to adult phase need to be considered.
Keywords: Pseudotsuga menziesii, SPEI, juvenile phase, adult phase, latewood share, resistance drilling
Published in DiRROS: 21.11.2022; Views: 142; Downloads: 25
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Different wood anatomical and growth responses in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) at three forest sites in Slovenia
Domen Arnič, Jožica Gričar, Jernej Jevšenak, Gregor Božič, Georg von Arx, Peter Prislan, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) adapts to local growing conditions to enhance its performance. In response to variations in climatic conditions, beech trees adjust leaf phenology, cambial phenology, and wood formation patterns, which result in different treering widths (TRWs) and wood anatomy. Chronologies of tree ring width and vessel features [i.e., mean vessel area (MVA), vessel density (VD), and relative conductive area (RCTA)] were produced for the 1960%2016 period for three sites that differ in climatic regimes and spring leaf phenology (two early- and one late-flushing populations). These data were used to investigate long-term relationships between climatic conditions and anatomical features of four quarters of tree-rings at annual and intra-annual scales. In addition, we investigated how TRW and vessel features adjust in response to extreme weather events (i.e., summer drought). We found significant differences in TRW, VD, and RCTA among the selected sites. Precipitation and maximum temperature before and during the growing season were the most important climatic factors affecting TRW and vessel characteristics. We confirmed differences in climate-growth relationships between the selected sites, late flushing beech population at Idrija showing the least pronounced response to climate. MVA was the only vessel trait that showed no relationship with TRW or other vessel features. The relationship between MVA and climatic factors evaluated at intra-annual scale indicated that vessel area in the first quarter of tree-ring were mainly influenced by climatic conditions in the previous growing season, while vessel area in the second to fourth quarters of tree ring width was mainly influenced by maximum temperature and precipitation in the current growing season. When comparing wet and dry years, beech from all sites showed a similar response, with reduced TRW and changes in intra-annual variation in vessel area. Our findings suggest that changes in temperature and precipitation regimes as predicted by most climate change scenarios will affect tree-ring increments and wood structure in beech, yet the response between sites or populations may differ.
Keywords: Fagus sylvatica, wood anatomy, tracheograms, dendrochronology, intra specific plasticity
Published in DiRROS: 22.07.2022; Views: 219; Downloads: 165
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Modelling seasonal dynamics of secondary growth in R
Jernej Jevšenak, Jožica Gričar, Sergio Rossi, Peter Prislan, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: The monitoring of seasonal radial growth of woody plants addresses the ultimate question of when, how and why trees grow. Assessing the growth dynamics is important to quantify the effect of environmental drivers and understand how woody species will deal with the ongoing climatic changes. One of the crucial steps in the analyses of seasonal radial growth is to model the dynamics of xylem and phloem formation based on increment measurements on samples taken at relatively short intervals during the growing season. The most common approach is the use of the Gompertz equation, while other approaches, such as general additive models (GAMs) and generalised linear models (GLMs), have also been tested in recent years. For the first time, we explored artificial neural networks with Bayesian regularisation algorithm (BRNNs) and show that this method is easy to use, resistant to overfitting, tends to yield s-shaped curves and is therefore suitable for deriving temporal dynamics of secondary tree growth. We propose two data processing algorithms that allow more flexible fits. The main result of our work is the XPSgrowth() function implemented in the radial Tree Growth (rTG) R package, that can be used to evaluate and compare three modelling approaches: BRNN, GAM and the Gompertz function. The newly developed function, tested on intra-seasonal xylem and phloem formation data, has potential applications in many ecological and environmental disciplines where growth is expressed as a function of time. Different approaches were evaluated in terms of prediction error, while fitted curves were visually compared to derive their main characteristics. Our results suggest that there is no single best fitting method, therefore we recommend testing different fitting methods and selection of the optimal one.
Keywords: artificial neural networks, cambium, generalized additive model, Gompertz function, growing season, intra-annual time series
Published in DiRROS: 21.07.2022; Views: 212; Downloads: 157
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Artificial neural networks as an alternative method to nonlinear mixed-effects models for tree height predictions
Mitja Skudnik, Jernej Jevšenak, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Tree heights are one of the most important aspects of forest mensuration, but data are often unavailable due to costly and time-consuming field measurements. Therefore, various types of models have been developed for the imputation of tree heights for unmeasured trees, with mixed-effects models being one of the most commonly applied approaches. The disadvantage here is the need of sufficient sample size per tree species for each plot, which is often not met, especially in mixed forests. To avoid this limitation, we used principal component analysis (PCA) for the grouping of similar plots based on the most relevant site descriptors. Next, we compared mixed-effects models with height-diameter models based on artificial neural networks (ANN). In terms of root mean square error (RMSE), mixed-effects models provided the most accurate tree height predictions at the plot level, especially for tree species with a smaller number of tree height measurements. When plots were grouped using the PCA and the number of observations per category increased, ANN predictions improved and became more accurate than those provided by mixed-effects models. The performance of ANN also increased when the competition index was included as an additional explanatory variable. Our results show that in the pursuit of the most accurate modelling approach for tree height predictions, ANN should be seriously considered, especially when the number of tree measurements and their distribution is sufficient.
Keywords: height-diameter models, national forest inventory, permanent sample plot, mixed forests, model comparison, principal component analysis
Published in DiRROS: 08.06.2022; Views: 237; Downloads: 99
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Climatic regulation of leaf and cambial phenology in Quercus pubescens : their interlinkage and impact on xylem and phloem conduits
Jožica Gričar, Jernej Jevšenak, Polona Hafner, Peter Prislan, Mitja Ferlan, Martina Lavrič, Dominik Vodnik, Klemen Eler, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Increased frequency and severity of stressful events affects the growth patterns and functioning of trees which adjust their phenology to given conditions. Here, we analysed environmental effects (temperature, precipitation, VPD and SWC) on the timing of leaf phenology, seasonal stem radial growth patterns, and xylem and phloem anatomy of Quercus pubescens in the sub-Mediterranean in the period 2014%2019, when various adverse weather events occurred, i.e. spring drought in 2015, summer fire in 2016 and summer drought in 2017. Results showed that the timings of leaf and cambium phenology do not occur simultaneously in Q. pubescens, reflecting different environmental and internal constraints. Although year-to-year variability in the timings of leaf and cambial phenology exists, their chronological sequence is fairly fixed. Different effects of weather conditions on different stages of leaf development in spring were observed. Common climatic drivers (i.e., negative effect of hot and dry summers and a positive effect of increasing moisture availability in winter and summer) were found to affect the widths of xylem and phloem increments with more pronounced effect on late formed parts. A legacy effect of the timing of leaf and cambial phenology of the previous growing season on the timing of phenology of the following spring was confirmed. Rarely available phloem data permitted a comprehensive insight into the interlinkage of the timing of cambium and leaf phenology and adjustment strategies of vascular tissues in Mediterranean pubescent oak to various environmental constraints, including frequent extreme events (drought, fire). Our results suggest that predicted changes in autumn/winter and spring climatic conditions for this area could affect the timings of leaf and stem cambial phenology of Q. pubescens in the coming years, which would affect stem xylem and phloem structure and hydraulic properties, and ultimately its performance.
Keywords: pubescent oak, leaf development, radial growth, initial earlywood vessel, sieve tube, anatomy, cambial cell production, extreme weather events
Published in DiRROS: 06.09.2021; Views: 617; Downloads: 105
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