02 May 2022
02 May 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Contrasting drought legacy effects on gross primary productivity in a mixed versus pure beech forest

Xin Yu1, René Orth1, Markus Reichstein1, Michael Bahn2, Anne Klosterhalfen3, Alexander Knohl3, Franziska Koebsch3, Mirco Migliavacca1,4, Martina Mund5, Jacob A. Nelson1, Benjamin D. Stocker6,7, Sophia Walther1, and Ana Bastos1 Xin Yu et al.
  • 1Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, D-07745, Germany
  • 2Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, A-6020, Austria
  • 3Bioclimatology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, D-37077, Germany
  • 4Joint Research Centre, European commission, Ispra (VA), 21027, Italy
  • 5Forestry Research and Competence Centre Gotha, Gotha, D-99867, Germany
  • 6Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH, Zürich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 7Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, 8903, Switzerland

Abstract. Droughts affect terrestrial ecosystems directly and concurrently, and can additionally induce lagged effects in subsequent seasons and years. Such legacy effects of drought on vegetation growth and state have been widely studied in tree-ring records and satellite-based vegetation greenness, while legacies on ecosystem carbon fluxes are still poorly quantified and understood. Here, we focus on two ecosystem monitoring sites in central Germany with similar climate but characterized by different species and age structures. Using eddy-covariance measurements, we detect legacies on gross primary productivity (GPP) by calculating the difference between random-forest model estimates of potential GPP and observed GPP. Our results showed that at both sites, droughts caused significant legacy effects on GPP at seasonal and annual time scales which were partly explained by reduced leaf development. The GPP reduction due to drought legacy effects is of comparable magnitude to the concurrent drought effects, but differed between two neighbouring forests with divergent species and age structures. The methodology proposed here allows quantifying the temporal dynamics of legacy effects at the sub-seasonal scale and separating legacy effects from model uncertainties. Application of the methodology at a larger range of sites will help quantify whether the identified lag effects are general and on which factors they may depend.

Xin Yu et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-99', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-99', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 May 2022

Xin Yu et al.


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Short summary
Drought legacies on ecosystem carbon fluxes are challenging to detect in observation. We developed an approach to quantify drought legacies on gross primary productivity (GPP) using eddy-covariance (EC) data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time drought legacies on ecosystem carbon fluxes in observation are found using EC data. The GPP reduction due to drought legacy effects is of comparable magnitude to the concurrent effects, which confirms the importance of legacy effects.