Disturbance regimes are often a complex suite of interacting agents that drive forest dynamics. Changes to any one or many of the agents will potentially affect future forest services such as productivity and carbon storage potential. Differences in sensitivity to disturbance events between diffuse-porous and ring-porous tree species, however, are currently unclear despite having important ecological and management implications. We used a dendroecological approach to identify whether diffuse and ring-porous species differ in their disturbance history, response to climate influence, and carbon storage potential in a mature Quercus-Carya stand in the Appalachian Mountains, USA. Several major abrupt growth increases indicating disturbance were identified during the history of the stand in the 1860s, 1930s, and 1960s. While both functional groups showed sensitivity to climate variables, growth reductions following drought events were more often significant for ring-porous species compared to diffuse-porous species. The decadal growth responses to drought events were similar among functional groups, and age classes, but indicated reduced growth following successive events. For the inventory year of 2015, the stand-wide aboveground live carbon content was 96.2 Mg C ha− 1 , with 58.3 Mg C ha− 1 captured in ring-porous species and 37.9 Mg C ha− 1 captured in diffuse-porous species. Our results suggest that understanding how different species and functional groups respond to forest disturbance and climate variability is critical for evaluating future management scenarios and prediction of climate change feedbacks.
Grover, Z.S.; Forrester, J.A.; Keyser, T.L.; King, J.S.; Altman, J. 2023. Growth response, climate sensitivity and carbon storage vary with wood porosity in a southern Appalachian mixed hardwood forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 332(5): 109358-. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2023.109358.