iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Preliminary indications for diverging heat and drought sensitivities in Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central Europe

Norbert Kunert (1-2)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 89-91 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3216-012
Published: Mar 01, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Short Communications

Massive and increasing tree mortality is currently observed in the two conifer species Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central Europe. Consecutive dry years are made responsible for this phenomenon. Leaf trait measurements, in specific leaf osmotic potential (πosm) and leaf water potential at turgor loss (πtlp), indicate that the underlying mechanisms for tree mortality are most likely different between the two species. πtlp of spruce was highly negative, revealing a potentially high drought tolerance of the species. πtlp of Scots pine was less negative, suggesting a higher susceptibility to drought stress. I conclude that the mortality of Norway spruce might be caused by rising temperatures and that the summer temperatures in the past years were beyond the species thermal tolerance threshold. Overall, I want to highlight and enhance the discussion that the search for suitable species for a climate change adapted forest should go in both directions, i.e., species should be chosen to make the forest fit for both increasing drought and heat stress.


Tree Mortality, Water Stress, Heat Stress, Physiological Limitations, Conifers

Authors’ address

Norbert Kunert 0000-0002-5602-6221
Conservation Ecology Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA (USA)
Norbert Kunert 0000-0002-5602-6221
Center for Tropical Forest Science - Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Republic of Panama)

Corresponding author


Kunert N (2020). Preliminary indications for diverging heat and drought sensitivities in Norway spruce and Scots pine in Central Europe. iForest 13: 89-91. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3216-012

Academic Editor

Tamir Klein

Paper history

Received: Aug 18, 2019
Accepted: Dec 11, 2019

First online: Mar 01, 2020
Publication Date: Apr 30, 2020
Publication Time: 2.70 months

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