Author/s:

Islam, M.
Bräuning, A.
Rahman, M.

Publisher:

Science Direct

Year of Publication:

2018

Abstract

Multiple sources of evidence suggest an increasing frequency of extreme climatic events during the past century. In Bangladesh, a country strongly influenced by the South Asian monsoon climate, the years 1999 and 2006 were the most severe droughts among the ten drought events identified over the last four decades. We investigated the impact of these two drought events on radial growth and xylem anatomical features of the brevi-deciduous tree species Chukrasia tabularis in a moist tropical forest in Bangladesh. Tree radial growth declined by 54 % during the 1999 and 48.7% during the 2006 droughts, respectively. Among the wood anatomical features, the number of vessels (NV) showed the highest sensitivity to drought, with a 45 % decrease in the 1999 drought year, followed by total vessel area (TVA) and mean vessel area (MVA). On the other hand, Vessel density (VD) increased by 13% during the 1999 drought but the increase in VD was very low in the drought year 2006. The decreasing vessel area and increasing vessel density indicate xylem hydraulic adaptation of C. tabularis to minimize drought induced cavitation risk and to avoid hydraulic failure. The significant correlations between the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and time series of tree-ring width and vessel variables imply that decline in radial growth and changes in vessel features in C. tabularis are likely to be caused by drought induced water stress. Our analyses suggest that radial growth and wood anatomical features of C. tabularis are highly sensitive to extreme drought events in South Asian moist tropical forests and can be used to reconstruct past droughts and to model tree response to drought conditions under future climate conditions.

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