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Climate, intrinsic water-use efficiency and tree growth over the past 150 years in humid subtropical China

Journal article
Authors D. W. Li
Keyan Fang
Y. J. Li
Deliang Chen
X. H. Liu
Z. P. Dong
F. F. Zhou
G. Y. Guo
F. Shi
C. X. Xu
Y. P. Li
Published in Plos One
Volume 12
Issue 2
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords summer temperature reconstruction, carbon-isotope discrimination, atmospheric co2 concentration, tibetan plateau, annual precipitation, radial growth, delta-c-13, forests, record, cellulose, Science & Technology - Other Topics
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Influence of long-term changes in climate and CO2 concentration on intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE), defined as the ratio between net photosynthesis (A) and leaf conductance (g), and tree growth remain not fully revealed in humid subtropical China, which is distinct from other arid subtropical areas with dense coverage of broadleaf forests. This study presented the first tree-ring stable carbon isotope (delta C-13) and iWUE series of Pinus massoniana from 1865 to 2013 in Fujian province, humid subtropical China, and the first tree-ring width standard chronology during the period of 1836-2013 for the Niumulin Nature Reserve (NML). Tree-ring width growth was limited by precipitation in July-August (r = 0.40, p < 0.01). The tree-ring carbon isotope discrimination (Delta C-13) was mainly controlled by the sunshine hours (r = -0.66, p < 0.001) and relative humidity (r = 0.58, p < 0.001) in September-October, a season with rapid latewood formation in this area. The iWUE increased by 42.6% and the atmospheric CO2 concentration (c(a)) explained 92.6% of the iWUE variance over the last 150 years. The steady increase in iWUE suggests an active response with a proportional increase in intercellular CO2 concentration (c(i)) in response to increase in c(a). The contribution of iWUE to tree growth in the study region is not conspicuous, which points to influences of other factors such as climate.

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