Effects of climate trends and variability on tree health responses in the Black Sea and Mediterranean forests of Türkiye

Nida Dogan Ciftci*, Ahmet Duran Şahin, Rasoul Yousefpour, Andreas Christen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To adapt forest ecosystems and forest management to climate change, it is essential to know which forest regions and which tree species are resilient to climate variability and which ones are possibly affected most by past and anticipated future changes. In this contribution, for the main forest regions of Türkiye and six tree species, recent climate variability and trends were quantified and statistically correlated to record tree defoliation and vitality. Climate variables considered are maximum temperature (Tmax), minimum temperature (Tmin), mean temperature (Tmean), and total precipitation (Prcp), which are compared to forest health responses recorded as part of the International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests) on 277 plots across forests along the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions. In addition, long-term data on satellite measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were extracted for the same 277 plots for the period 2008–2020. Firstly, 30 years (1991–2020) of reanalysis of climate variables from ECMWF were extracted for all plots; secondly, individual correlations and cross-correlations of climate variables and tree health and vitality were computed for the period 2008–2020 (significance level of 95%) for the four most dominant species from the Black Sea forests (F. orientalis, Q. cerris, P. sylvestris, P. orientalis) and two species from Mediterranean forests (P. brutia and C. libani). Temperature showed a stronger effect on most species than precipitation. Finally, time-lagged correlations were analyzed for seven-time lags (significance level of 95%) to evaluate legacy effect. The analysis revealed that different tree species from the two regions show different responses to climate variables. Species in the Mediterranean region are more resistant to droughts and climatic variations. Legacy effects of defoliation and NDVI have lasted for at least 2 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3969-3991
Number of pages23
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


Open access funding provided by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK). This work is funded by The Scientific and Technological Research Council Of Türkiye (TUBITAK) with the Grant Number 1059B142000733. University of Freiburg provided additional resources during a research exchange of NDC.

FundersFunder number
Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu1059B142000733


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