iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Model-based assessment of ecological adaptations of three forest tree species growing in Italy and impact on carbon and water balance at national scale under current and future climate scenarios

M Vitale (1)   , M Mancini (1-2), G Matteucci (3-4), F Francesconi (1), R Valenti (1), F Attorre (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 5, Issue 5, Pages 235-246 (2012)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0634-005
Published: Oct 24, 2012 - Copyright © 2012 SISEF

Research Articles

A semi-empirical model has been used to estimate total net primary productivity, canopy transpiration and the water use efficiency under actual and future climate projections (B1 and A2 IPCC Scenarios) of two deciduous (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus cerris) and one evergreen tree species (Quercus ilex) growing in Italy. In response to changes in the air temperature, the two deciduous species showed a strong reduction of NPP values, whereas the evergreen one showed very limited reductions. Under future warmer conditions, Q. ilex proved to be the best adapted species, probably for its drought-tolerant water-saving strategy, while Q. cerris suffered a reduction of transpiration, due to stomatal closure which was sensitive to the change of evaporative demand. Water Use Efficiency (WUE) values did not increase in the B1 and A2 scenarios, indicating a non-conservative water-saving strategy, which likely affected the distribution pattern of Q. cerris under these conditions. Similar functional behaviour have been noted for F. sylvatica, although this species adopted a water spending strategy, typical of species growing in mesic environments, that could represent a risk for survival of beech population under extreme air temperature change. In this respect, the reduced suitable area for this species under the A2 scenario could reduce the possibilities of an upward shift toward higher altitudes.


Semi-empirical Model, Climate Change, Mediterranean Region, Net Primary Productivity, Water Use Efficiency

Authors’ address

M Vitale
M Mancini
F Francesconi
R Valenti
F Attorre
Department of Environmental Biology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, p.le Aldo Moro 5, I-00185 Rome (Italy)
M Mancini
Department of Forest Resources and Environment, University of Tuscia, v. S. Camillo de Lellis snc, I-01100 Viterbo (Italy)
G Matteucci
Institute of Agroenvironmental and Forest Biology, National Research Council of Italy, v. Salaria km 29.300, I-00015 Monterotondo Scalo (RM - Italy)
G Matteucci
Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean, National Research Council of Italy, v. Cavour 4-6, I-87036 Rende (CS - Italy)

Corresponding author


Vitale M, Mancini M, Matteucci G, Francesconi F, Valenti R, Attorre F (2012). Model-based assessment of ecological adaptations of three forest tree species growing in Italy and impact on carbon and water balance at national scale under current and future climate scenarios. iForest 5: 235-246. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0634-005

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Aug 08, 2012
Accepted: Oct 10, 2012

First online: Oct 24, 2012
Publication Date: Oct 30, 2012
Publication Time: 0.47 months

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