Extreme climate events signature in pedunculate oak wood at rear edges of its range


Type of project


Project status


Implementation period


Contract number


Source of funding

the MSCA4Ukraine grant funded by European Union

Financing amount

€ 69976,80


Yuliia Prokopuk (Forest research Institute, Department of Silviculture and Genetic, IBL Dendrolab)

Coordinator / leading department

Department of Silviculture and Genetics, IBL Dendrolab

Project supervisor

Marcin Klisz (Forest research Institute, Department of Silviculture and Genetic, IBL Dendrolab)

Project description

Climate change, resulting in temperature rising and precipitation distribution changes, increases drought’s frequency and severity worldwide (IPCC, 2013). Severe droughts, such as the one experienced in Europe during 2018 (Schuldt et al., 2020), are serious natural disasters, leading to complicated social and economic consequences for agriculture, wildfires, and forest dieback. Populations located on the ecological boundary of the species’ distribution range are expected to be the most vulnerable and highly sensitive to climate change (Hampe and Petit, 2005) and respectively to extreme drought events.

The long-term drought impact on forest ecosystems can be estimated by using dendrochronological and wood anatomy approaches (Fernández-de-Uña et al., 2017; Gazol and Camarero, 2022), which are usually applied to the forests’ foundation tree species as the most representative and sensitive component of forest ecosystems. Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) is a wide-distributed forest species in Europe, that is sensitive to climatic factors. Like most ring-porous species pedunculate oak responds to unfavorable environmental conditions by forming tyloses in vessels (Pérez-de-Lis et al., 2018), thick cell walls (intra-annual density fluctuation, IADF) caused by the interruption of cell division during cambial activity (De Micco et al., 2016; Gennaretti et al., 2022), and reflecting on earlywood vessels diameter (Abrantes et al., 2013). Such anatomical features result in reducing the functionality of the water transporting system which could lead to deterioration of tree fitness and dieback.

In current project we study sensitivity of pedunculate oak populations to extreme climatic events across the southern edge of its distribution range in Europe. To investigate possible oaks wood response to extreme drought we apply dendrochronological and quantitative wood anatomy approaches.

Project goals

The research project aims to assess the drought impact on pedunculate oak at the wood anatomy level within the south-eastern edge of the species distribution range. To reach the goal, the dendrochronological, statistical and quantitative wood anatomy analysis are applied.

Characteristics of the project

The study is performed in three main steps: 1) oak sample collection, cores preparation, and dating; 2) identification years of extreme climatic events (intense droughts and heatwaves) within sampling sites; identification of these years on oak cores, and cross-section preparation of 5 years before and after extreme climatic events for quantitative wood anatomy; recognition of anatomical features (tyloses, IADF) with AxioScan Z1 ZEISS slide scanner and ROXAS software, cross-section preparation with Leica rotary microtome; 3) statistical analysis in R.

Scope of IBL participation

All research activities will be done at the IBL.

Project contractors

Forest research Institute, Department of Silviculture and Genetic, IBL Dendrolab


This project will be performed in collaboration with Marcin Klisz (Forest Research Institute, Poland), Maksym Netsvetov (Institute for evolutionary ecology of the National Academy of Sciences (IEENAS), Kyiv, Ukraine) Annabel J. Porté (INRAE University of Bordeaux, UMR BIOGECO, France), and Olexandr Sylenko (PhD student, IEENAS, Kyiv, Ukraine).

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