iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Drought-induced mortality of Scots pines at the southern limits of its distribution in Europe: causes and consequences

A Giuggiola (1)   , TM Kuster (1), S Saha (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages 95-97 (2010)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0542-003
Published: Jul 15, 2010 - Copyright © 2010 SISEF

Review Papers

Collection/Special Issue: NFZ Summer School 2009 - Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
Long-term ecosystem research: understanding the present to shape the future
Guest Editors: Marcus Schaub (WSL, Switzerland)

Several severe drought events have been reported in southern Europe during recent decades. Drought has been found to increase the mortality of the southernmost populations of Scots pine forests in Mediterranean countries and in dry inner-alpine valleys. Therefore the ongoing global climate change is likely to endanger Scots pine in future decades. Carbon starvation might be the main cause of the increasing mortality rate due to less carbon uptake and consequently to high susceptibility to biotic attacks. Forest management, in particular, thinning and shrub removal could decrease the intensity of drought stress by decreasing competition for water resources and thus increasing carbon uptake. The ongoing climate change and adaptive forest management will both play an important role for the sustainability of this specie across southern regions of Europe.


Scots pine, Drought, Tree mortality, Tree vitality, Europe, Thinning, Shrub removal

Authors’ address

A Giuggiola
TM Kuster
WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf (Switzerland)
S Saha
Institute of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacherstrasse 4, D-79085 Freiburg (Germany)

Corresponding author



Giuggiola A, Kuster TM, Saha S (2010). Drought-induced mortality of Scots pines at the southern limits of its distribution in Europe: causes and consequences. iForest 3: 95-97. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0542-003

Academic Editor

Marcus Schaub

Paper history

Received: May 25, 2010
Accepted: May 31, 2010

First online: Jul 15, 2010
Publication Date: Jul 15, 2010
Publication Time: 1.50 months

Breakdown by View Type

(Waiting for server response...)

Article Usage

Total Article Views: 49336
(from publication date up to now)

Breakdown by View Type
HTML Page Views: 41699
Abstract Page Views: 2795
PDF Downloads: 3951
Citation/Reference Downloads: 36
XML Downloads: 855

Web Metrics
Days since publication: 5088
Overall contacts: 49336
Avg. contacts per week: 67.88

Article Citations

Article citations are based on data periodically collected from the Clarivate Web of Science web site
(last update: Feb 2023)

Total number of cites (since 2010): 19
Average cites per year: 1.36


Publication Metrics

by Dimensions ©

Articles citing this article

List of the papers citing this article based on CrossRef Cited-by.

Adams HD, Guardiola-Claramonte M, Barron-Gafford GA, Villegas JC, Breshears D, Zou CB, Troch PA, Huxmann TE (2009)
Temperature sensitivity of drought tree mortality portends increased regional die-off under global-change-type drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 7063-7066.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Aussenac G (2000)
Interactions between forest stand and microclimate: Ecophysiological aspects and consequences for silviculture. Annals of Forest Science 57: 287-301.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Beniston M, Stephenson DB, Christensen OB, Ferro CAT, Frei C, Goyette S, Halsnaes K, Holt T, Jylha K, Koffi B, Palutikof J, Scholl R, Semmler T, Woth K (2007)
Future extreme events in European climate: an exploration of regional climate model projections. Climatic Change 81: 71-95.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Bigler C, Bräker OU, Bugmann H, Dobbertin M, Rigling A (2006)
Drought as an Inciting Mortality Factor in Scots Pine Stands of the Valais, Switzerland. Ecosystems 9: 330-343.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Buckley TN (2005)
The control of stomata by water balance. New Phytologist 168: 275-292.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Cochard H (1992)
Vulnerability of several conifers to air embolism. Tree Physiology 11: 73-83.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Dieguez-Aranda U, Castedo-Dorado F, Alvarez- Gonzalez JG, Rodriguez-Soalleiro R (2005)
Modelling mortality of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations in the northwest of Spain. European Journal of Forest Research 124: 143-153.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Dobbertin M, Mayer P, Wohlgemuth T, Feldmeyer-Christe E, Graf U, Zimmermann NE, Rigling A (2005)
The decline of Pinus sylvestris L. forests in the swiss Rhone Valley - a result of drought stress? Phyton - Annales Rei Botanicae 45: 153-156.
Online | Gscholar
Dobbertin M, Rigling A (2006)
Pine mistletoe (Viscum album ssp. austriacum) contributes to Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) mortality in the Rhône valley of Switzerland. Forest Pathology 36: 309-322.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Dobbertin M, Eilmann B, Bleuler P, Giuggiola A, Graf Pannatier E, Landolt W, Schleppi P, Rigling A (2010)
Effect of irrigation on needle morphology, shoot and stem growth in a drought-exposed Pinus sylvestris forest. Tree physiology (in the press).
Eid T, Tuhus E (2001)
Models for individual tree mortality in Norway. Forest Ecology and Management 154: 69-84.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Frei C (2004)
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Zürich) Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima, and MeteoSchweiz, 2004. Klimazukunft der Schweiz - Eine probabilistische Projektion. MeteoSchweiz, Zürich, pp. 8.
Frei C, Scholl R, Fukutome S, Schmidli J, Vidale PL (2006)
Future change of precipitation extremes in Europe: intercomparison of scenarios from regional climate models. Journal of Geophysical Research 111: D06105.
CrossRef | Gscholar
IPCC (2001)
Climatic change 2001: The Scientific Basis. In: “Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC” (Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Dai X, Manskell K, Johnson CA eds). University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 881.
IPCC (2007)
Climate Change 2007 - Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: “Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC” (Parry M, Canziani O, Palutikof J, van der Linden P, Hanson C eds), University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Jutras S, Hokka H, Alenius V, Salminen H (2003)
Modeling mortality of individual trees in drained peatland sites in Finland. Silva Fennica 37: 235-251.
Online | Gscholar
Körner C (2003)
Alpine plant life: functional plant ecology of high mountain ecosystems. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany.
Langstrom B, Annila E, Hellqvist C, Varama M, Niemela P (2001)
Tree mortality, needle biomass recovery and growth losses in Scots pine following defoliation by Diprion pini (L.) and subsequent attack by Tomicus piniperda (L.). Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 16: 342-353.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Larcher W (2003)
Physiological plant ecology - ecophysiology and stress physiology of functional groups. Springer, Berlin, Germany, pp. 513.
Leuzinger S, Bigler C, Wolf A, Körner C (2009)
Poor methodology for predicting large-scale tree die-off. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (38): E106.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Kolb TE, Agee JK, Fulé PZ, McDowell NG, Pearson K, Sala A, Waring RH (2007)
Perpetuating old ponderosa pine. Forest Ecology and Management 249: 141-157.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Martínez-Vilalta J, Piñol J (2002)
Drought-induced mortality and hydraulic architecture in pine populations of the NE Iberian Peninsula. Forest Ecology and Management 161: 247-256.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Martínez-Vilalta J, Cochard H, Mencuccini M, Sterck F, Herrero A, Korhonen JFJ, Llorens P, Nikinmaa E, Nolè A, Poyatos R, Ripullone F, Sass-Klaassen U, Zweifel R (2009)
Hydraulic adjustement of Scots pine across Europe. New Phytologist 194: 353-364.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Matsushima M, Chang SX (2007)
Effects of understory removal, N fertilization, and litter layer removal on soil N cycling in a 13-year-old white spruce plantation infested with Canada bluejoint grass. Plant and Soil 292: 243-258.
CrossRef | Gscholar
McDowell N, Pockman WT, Allen CD, Breshears DD, Cobb N, Kolb T, Plaut J, Sperry J, West A, Williams DG, Yepez EA (2008)
Mechanisms of plant survival and mortality during drought: why do some plants survive while others succumb to drought? New Phytologist 178: 719-739.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Oberhuber W, Stumböck M, Kofler W (1998)
Climate-tree-growth relationships of Scots pine stands (Pinus sylvestris L.) exposed to soil dryness. Trees 13: 19-27.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Oberhuber W (2001)
The role of climate in the mortality of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) exposed to soil dryness. Dendrochronologia 19: 45-55.
Ozolincius R, Miksys V, Stakenas V (2005)
Growth-independent mortality of Lithuanian forest tree species. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 20: 153-160.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Pichler P, Oberhuber W (2007)
Radial growth response of coniferous forest trees in an inner Alpine environment to heat-wave in 2003. Forest Ecology and Management 242: 688-699.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Planton S, Deque M, Chauvin F, Terray L (2008)
Expected impacts of climate change on extreme climate events. Comptes Rendus Geoscience 340: 564-574.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Rambal S, Hoff C (1998)
Mediterranean ecosystems and fire: the treats of global change. In: “Large Forest Fires” (Moreno JM ed). Backhuys, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Rebetez M, Dobbertin M (2004)
Climate change may already threaten Scots pine stands in the Swiss Alps. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 79: 1-9.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Rebetez M, Mayer H, Dupont O, Schindler D, Gartner K, Kropp JP, Menzel A (2006)
Heat and drought 2003 in Europe: a climate synthesis. Annals of Forest Science 63: 569-577.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Sala A (2009)
Lack of direct evidence for the carbon-starvation hypothesis to explain drought-induced mortality in trees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (26): E68.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Schär C, Vidale PL, Luthi D, Frei C, Haberli C, Liniger MA, Appenzeller C (2004)
The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature 427: 332-336.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Thabeet A, Vennetier M, Gadbin-Henry C, Denelle N, Roux M, Caraglio Y, Vila B (2009)
Response of Pinus sylvestris L. to recent climatic events in the French Mediterranean region. Trees 23: 843-853.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Tyree MT, Sperry JS (1989)
Vulnerability of xylem cavitation and embolism. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 40: 19-38.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Vennetier M, Thabeet A, Gadbin-Henry C, Ripert C, Prevosto B, Borgniet L, Vila B, Guibal F, Ray R, Buron, Zanetti C (2009)
Conséquences de la canicule et de la sécheresse 2003 sur les pins méditerranéens. In: “Sécheresse et canicule 2003. Contribution des dispositifs de suivi et d’observation des forêts à la quantification des effets immédiats et à court terme” (Landman G Landeau S eds). QUAE, Paris, France (in the press).
Vertui F, Tagliaferro F (1997)
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) die-back by unknow causes in the Aosta valley, Italy. Chemosphere 36: 1061-1065.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Waring RH, Schlesinger WH (1985)
Forest Ecosystems: Concepts and Management. Academic Press Inc., Orlando, FL, USA, pp. 340.
Zweifel R, Steppe K, Sterck FJ (2007)
Stomatal regulation by microclimate and tree water relations: interpreting ecophysiological field data with a hydraulic plant model. Journal of Experimental Botany 58: 2113-2131.
CrossRef | Gscholar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info