High temperatures and droughts following winter dormancy can negatively affect seedling growth and mortality. An open-field experiment was conducted to study the growth and mortality of Larix kaempferi seedlings in response to spring warming and drought treatments and to determine whether seedlings could regain their growth capability once the treatments were discontinued. In May 2020, 1-year-old seedlings were exposed to four treatments: control, warming-only, drought-only, and the combined warming and drought. Drought treatment reduced the seedling height and root collar diameter and increased the mortality rate. The combined warming and drought treatments had the highest mortality rates, followed by the drought, control, and warming treatments. However, after the cessation of the treatments, the combined warming and drought treatments increased seedling height, root collar diameter, and individual seedling biomass because the high mortality rate relaxed competition among seedlings. This suggests that the effects of low competition on the surviving seedlings may mitigate the negative effects of warming and drought on seedling growth. Our study demonstrates that despite the high mortality and decreased growth during the treatment period, seedlings subjected to combined high temperature and drought stress showed short-term high levels of growth compared to seedlings subjected to a single stress.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by the R&D Program for Forest Science Technology (Project No. “2020181B10-2222-BB01”) provided by Korea Forest Service (Korea Forestry Promotion Institute). This research was also supported by the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2021R1A6A1A10045235).
© 2022 by the authorsLicensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- climate change
- Larix kaempferi
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Aquatic Science
- Water Science and Technology