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Spatiotemporal variability in radial growth of trees in the Central Pyrenees: climatic and site influences.
Tardif, Jacques; Camarero Martínez, Jesús Julio; Ribas, Montse; Gutiérrez Merino, Emilia
Universitat de Barcelona
To understand how tree growth has responded to recent climate warming, an understanding of the tree-climate-site complex is necessary. To achieve this, radial growth variability among 204 trees established before 1850 was studied in relation to both climatic and site factors. Seventeen forest stands were sampled in the Spanish Central Pyrenees. Three species were studied: Pinus uncinata, Abies alba, and Pinus sylvestris. For each tree, a ring-width residual chronology was built. All trees cross-dated well, indicating a common influence of the regional climate. For the 1952-1993 period, the radial growth of all species, especially P. uncinata, was positively correlated with warm Novembers during the year before ring formation and warm Mays of the year the annual ring formed. Differences in species-stand elevation modulated the growth-climate associations. Radial growth in P. uncinata at high elevation sites was reduced when May temperatures were colder and May precipitation more abundant. In the 20th century, two contrasting periods in radial growth were observed: one (1900-1949) with low frequency of narrow and wide rings, low mean annual sensitivity, and low common growth variation; and another (1950-1994) with the reverse characteristics. The increased variability in radial growth since the 1950s was observed for all species and sites, which suggests a climatic cause. The low shared variance among tree chronologies during the first half of the 20th century may result from a"relaxation" of the elevation gradient, allowing local site conditions to dominate macroclimatic influence. These temporal trends may be related to the recently reported increase of climatic variability and warmer conditions. This study emphasizes the need to carefully assess the relationships between radial growth and site conditions along ecological gradients to improve dendroclimatic reconstructions.
Creixement (Plantes)
Canvis climàtics
Pirineu català (Catalunya)
Growth (Plants)
Climatic changes
Catalonian pyrenees (Catalonia)
(c) Ecological Society of America, 2003
Ecological Society of America

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