Tree Size and Drought Affect Ponderosa Pine Physiological Response to Thinning and Burning Treatments

Kjerstin R. Skov, Thomas E Kolb, Kimberly F. Wallin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Thinning and burning treatments based on presettlement (prior to Euro-American settlement) stand conditions have been proposed for improving the vigor and growth of Pinus ponderosa. No study has examined effects of different levels of such thinning treatments on tree water, carbon, and nitrogen relations, or compared effects between postsettlement (trees established after Euro-American settlement) and presettlement (established before Euro-American settlement) trees. We investigated responses of presettlement and postsettlement trees to three levels of thinning and burning (unthinned/ unburned control, light thinning/burning, heavy thinning/burning) over 2 yr that differed in precipitation in northern Arizona. Both thinning treatments consistently increased predawn water potential of both tree sizes compared with the control. Effects of thinning on leaf gas exchange varied between tree sizes and measurement times. Thinning increased net photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance only when soil water availability was lowest, and increases were greater for postsettlement than presettlement trees. In contrast, thinning had no effect on foliar nitrogen concentration. Our results suggest greater positive effects of restoration thinning on tree water and carbon relations for postsettlement versus presettlement trees, and under drought versus nondrought conditions. Photosynthetic response to thinning in old trees may be constrained by physiological factors associated with large size such as low soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalForest Science
Volume50
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004

Fingerprint

Pinus ponderosa
physiological response
thinning (plants)
thinning
plant response
drought
carbon
plant available water
nitrogen
vigor
stomatal conductance
gas exchange
water availability
water potential
water
leaves
fluid mechanics
soil water
effect
hydraulics

Keywords

  • Arizona
  • Carbon isotope
  • Nitrogen
  • Photosynthesis
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Stomatal conductance
  • Water relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Tree Size and Drought Affect Ponderosa Pine Physiological Response to Thinning and Burning Treatments. / Skov, Kjerstin R.; Kolb, Thomas E; Wallin, Kimberly F.

In: Forest Science, Vol. 50, No. 1, 02.2004, p. 81-91.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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