The interest in adaptive forest strategies to
overcome predicted scenarios of climate change is increasing
worldwide. An example of these strategies is the
introduction of native species into mono-specific plantations.
However, to fully consider this option/strategy, a
higher understanding of the responses of forest tree species
to concurrent biotic and abiotic factors is needed. The aim
of the present study was to assess nutritional and morphological
adjustments of individuals of European beech
(Fagus sylvatica L.) and Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.)
Karst] growing at enhanced levels of CO2 and with different
proportions of con-specific individuals in its vicinity.
Individuals that grew at elevated CO2 levels showed higher
values of relative growth rate (RGR), total twig dry biomass
and root biomass, and lower values of leaf area ratio,
leaf N and Mg concentrations and soil nutrient concentrations.
Individuals of Norway spruce growing in the vicinity
of high proportions of European beech showed a reduction
in the allocation of biomass to foliar tissue, and lower
values of RGR and root biomass. European beech, by
contrast, showed a limited response to Norway spruce
presence and higher capacity in the exploitation of space
both above- and below-ground. In conclusion, the lower
response of European beech to both environmental factors
suggests that the introduction of European beech into
Norway spruce stands could be a feasible option in current
forest transition strategies.