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Effects of climate variables on intra-annual stem radial increment in Pinus cembra (L.) along the alpine treeline ecotone

Effets du climat sur les variation intra-annuelles de croissance radiale de Pinus cembra (L.) le long d’un écotone à la limite altitudinale de forêt alpine

Abstract

  • • Within the alpine treeline ecotone tree growth is increasingly restricted by extreme climate conditions. Although intra-annual stem growth recorded by dendrometers can be linked to climate, stem diameter increments in slow-growing subalpine trees are masked by changes in tree water status.

  • • We tested the hypothesis that intra-annual radial stem growth in Pinus cembra is influenced by different climate variables along the treeline ecotone in the Austrian Alps. Dendrometer traces were compared with dynamics of xylem cell development to date onset of cambial activity and radial stem growth in spring.

  • • Daily fluctuations in stem radius reflected changes in tree water status throughout the treeline ecotone. Extracted daily radial increments were significantly correlated with air temperature at the timberline and treeline only, where budburst, cambial activity and enlargement of first tracheids also occurred quite similarly. A close relationship was detected between radial increment and number of enlarging tracheids throughout the treeline ecotone.

  • • We conclude that (i) the relationship between climate and radial stem growth within the treeline ecotone is dependent on a close coupling to atmospheric climate conditions and (ii) initiation of cambial activity and radial growth in spring can be distinguished from stem re-hydration by histological analysis.

Résumé

  • • La croissance des arbres est fortement limitée par les conditions climatiques extrêmes de la limite altitudinale de la forêt. Les variations interannuelles de croissance radiale enregistrées par des dendromètres de tige peuvent être reliées au climat. Mais la croissance radiale peut être masquée par des changements de l’état hydrique des arbres.

  • • Nous avons testé l’hypothèse selon laquelle les variations intra-annuelles de croissance radiale des troncs de P. cembra étaient contrôlées par différents facteurs climatiques le long de l’écotone de la limite altitudinale de la forêt dans les Alpes autrichiennes. Les enregistrements obtenus à partir de dendromètres ont été comparés à des dynamiques de développement des cellules cambiales, afin de détecter avec précision la date de départ de la croissance cambiale au printemps.

  • • Les variations diurnes de diamètre du tronc reflétaient des variations de l’état hydrique des arbres le long de l’écotone. Les incréments quotidiens en diamètre extraits de ces signaux étaient corrélés à la température de l’air à la limite forestière, mais ne l’étaient plus à des altitudes supérieures, alors que le débourrement des bourgeons, la reprise d’activité cambiale et l’expansion des premiers trachéides se produisaient pratiquement en même temps le long de l’écotone. Une forte corrélation a été détectée tout au long de l’écotone, entre la croissance radiale et le nombre de trachéides en expansion.

  • • Nous concluons que : (i) la croissance radiale le long de l’écotone de la limite altitudinale de la forêt est fortement couplée aux conditions climatiques dans l’atmosphère, et que : (ii) l’initiation de l’activité cambiale et de la croissance radiale au printemps peut être distinguée de la réhydratation des troncs en mobilisant des analyses histologiques.

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Gruber, A., Zimmermann, J., Wieser, G. et al. Effects of climate variables on intra-annual stem radial increment in Pinus cembra (L.) along the alpine treeline ecotone. Ann. For. Sci. 66, 503 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1051/forest/2009038

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/forest/2009038

Keywords

  • dendrometer
  • Pinus cembra
  • radial increment
  • treeline ecotone
  • xylem formation

Mots-clés

  • dendromètre
  • Pinus cembra
  • accroissement radial
  • écotone de la limite
  • altitudinale de la forêt
  • formation du xylème