Transpiration and water potential of young Quercus petraea (M.) Liebl. coppice sprouts and seedlings during favourable and drought conditions
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Increased frequency and intensity of drought events consequently affect oak high forests with the process of further decline, compromised growth and questionable natural regeneration. To overcome such difficulties, new adaptive strategies are required. Coppicing, as the oldest way of forest management, might provide some solutions. In our study two contrasting management systems, sessile oak coppice and high forest, were compared at the initial stages of regeneration and forest development. The transpiration of young oak sprouts and seedlings was monitored using sap flow systems during the 2015 growing season. The study of transpiration also included leaf water potential measurements during three measurement campaigns with contrasting weather conditions. Coppice sprouts transpired significantly more than seedlings on the individual tree and stand level during the entire growing season 2015; particularly large differences were observed during drought conditions. Coppice sprouts experienced lower water limitations due to the voluminous and deeper root system as indicated by leaf water potential results. Presented results attribute young coppices as one of the promising adaptable forest management types with a better adaptive strategy at the extreme sites under water limiting conditions.