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The forest resistance to droughts differentiated by tree height in Europe
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  • Tiewei Li,
  • Lanlan Guo,
  • Bin He,
  • Xiuzhi Chen,
  • Wenping Yuan,
  • Xingming Hao,
  • Ling Huang,
  • Rui Wang,
  • Xuebang Liu,
  • Hao Zheng
Tiewei Li
Beijing Normal University
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Lanlan Guo
Beijing Normal University
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Bin He
Beijing Normal University
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Xiuzhi Chen
Sun Yat-Sen University
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Wenping Yuan
Sun Yat-Sen University
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Xingming Hao
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Ling Huang
Peking University
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Rui Wang
Beijing Normal University
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Xuebang Liu
Beijing Normal University
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Hao Zheng
Beijing Normal University
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Abstract

More frequent droughts are altering the dynamics and function of the European forest ecosystem, which is deeply connected to the global carbon cycle. Tree height is an important structural feature of forests; however, how it regulates the response of forests to droughts remains controversial. By comprehensively examining the variations of satellite-based vegetation greenness with drought evolution in Europe, we observed apparent height-dependence forests’ resistance to drought. Short trees show lower resistance to drought than tall trees, demonstrating earlier and larger negative vegetation anomaly. However, short trees present more rapid recovery when released from the drought. Although tall trees are more resistant to short-term water stress, prolonged drought may cause more serious damage. The observed resistance differences can be attributed to the differences in the capacity for water absorption and regulation among forests of different heights. These findings are critical to our understanding of the response of forests under drought stress.