Climate change is increasingly favouring the occurrence of extreme weather events, affecting species distribution and tree growth. It has been proposed that mixed forests are more resistant to drought spells and heat waves than corresponding monocultures. We sampled tree cores in nine plots along a latitudinal gradient of the Italian Peninsula (Trentino, Molise and Calabria). The objective of the study was to identify radial growth responses in mixed-species and pure plots of European beech and silver fir to climate dynamics and extreme events. Pointer years, as well as correlation and response functions, were used to analyse the climate–growth relationships in mixed-species and pure plots. Climate–growth relationships showed differences between mixed-species and pure plots only at the regional level. In particular, Trentino differed from Molise and Calabria, when considering maximum temperatures. In Trentino, winter (for silver fir) and summer (for both species) temperatures had a less negative impact on the radial growth of trees, in comparison with Molise and Calabria. Nevertheless, correlations between the radial growth and drought indices, and the principal component analysis, showed that plots were relatively unresponsive to summer drought. These results can be important for the implementation of operational techniques that increase the adaptation of silver fir and European beech to climate change, as well as for assisted migration.
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