• beech (Fagus sylvatica);
  • competition;
  • blackberry (Rubus fruticosus);
  • nitrogen status;
  • water status


  • • 
    The potential negative influence of competition from early successional species like blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) may be decisive for the natural regeneration success of drought-sensitive beech (Fagus sylvatica), especially in the light of climate change.
  • • 
    With a split plot glasshouse experiment, we investigated the influence of two air temperature and irradiance levels on the competitive interference of blackberry on the water, nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) balance of beech seedlings under moderate drought.
  • • 
    When increased temperature was accompanied by low irradiance the biomass, root-to-shoot ratio, N uptake and assimilation rates of blackberry were lower compared with beech, either grown alone or with blackberry. By contrast, when elevated temperature and high irradiance were combined, the root-to-shoot ratio and specific N uptake rate of blackberry were substantially increased, while the N acquisition of beech was impaired. Under lower temperature, with either full light or shade, the presence of blackberry had no significant effects on beech, for almost all tested parameters.
  • • 
    Under elevated air temperature beech was impaired by the presence of blackberry at high irradiance. These findings emphasize the interacting effects between environmental factors and competition on the establishment of beech regeneration, which should be considered for future forest management in the frame of climate change.