Point processes statistics of stable isotopes: analysing water uptake patterns in a mixed stand of Aleppo pine and Holm oak
Castillo Díaz, Jorge del
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Aim of study: Understanding inter- and intra-specific competition for water is crucial in drought-prone environments. However, little is known about the spatial interdependencies for water uptake among individuals in mixed stands. The aim of this work was to compare water uptake patterns during a drought episode in two common Mediterranean tree species, Quercus ilex L. and Pinus halepensis Mill., using the isotope composition of xylem water (δ18O, δ2 H) as hydrological marker. Area of study: The study was performed in a mixed stand, sampling a total of 33 oaks and 78 pines (plot area= 888 m2 ). We tested the hypothesis that both species uptake water differentially along the soil profile, thus showing different levels of tree-to-tree interdependency, depending on whether neighbouring trees belong to one species or the other. Material and Methods: We used pair-correlation functions to study intra-specific point-tree configurations and the bivariate pair correlation function to analyse the inter-specific spatial configuration. Moreover, the isotopic composition of xylem water was analysed as a mark point pattern. Main results: Values for Q. ilex (δ18O = –5.3 ± 0.2‰, δ2 H = –54.3 ± 0.7‰) were significantly lower than for P. halepensis (δ18O = –1.2 ± 0.2‰, δ2 H = –25.1 ± 0.8‰), pointing to a greater contribution of deeper soil layers for water uptake by Q. ilex. Research highlights: Point-process analyses revealed spatial intra-specific dependencies among neighbouring pines, showing neither oak-oak nor oak-pine interactions. This supports niche segregation for water uptake between the two species.
Is part ofForest Systems, 2015, vol. 24, núm. 1, p. 1-13
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