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Growth-climate relationship of European beech at its northern distribution limit

Journal article
Authors Emad Farahat
Hans W. Linderholm
Published in European Journal of Forest Research
Volume 137
Issue 5
Pages 619-629
ISSN 1612-4669
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 619-629
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10342-018-1129-...
Keywords Fagus sylvatica, Dendroclimatology, Distribution limits, Drought sensitivity, Southern Sweden, fagus-sylvatica l., spruce picea-abies, southern sweden, range core, drought, trees, forest, stands, edge, precipitation, Forestry, rmany, v264, p1
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Abstract

In general, trees growing at or near their limit of distribution are more sensitive to climate than those growing at their ecological core. Here we examined the growth-climate relationship of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) close to its northern distribution limit in southern Sweden. Tree-ring width chronologies were developed from four well-separated sites where the species was dominant (Djupeasen, DJ; Baldringe, BLD; Komperskulla, KSK and Ryssberget Nature Reserve, RYSS). The chronologies extended from 52years (BLD) to 150years (RYSS). Significant negative relationships were found between tree growth and previous summer (July and August) temperatures at three sites. July temperature of the year of growth had a negative relationship with beech growth at BLD and DJ. In contrast, current summer (July and August) precipitation was positively correlated with beech growth at DJ and KSK. This sensitivity of European beech to drought at its northern limit is in line with the previous research. However, following the exceptionally dry summer in southern Sweden in 1970, a marked growth decrease was noted as well as a shift in the relationship between beech growth and current growing-season temperature. Our results show that that the radial growth of European beech has become more sensitive to drought and precipitation than temperature at its northern distribution limit in the last several decades.

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