INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Sensitivity of Nothofagus dombeyi tree growth to climate changes along a precipitation gradient in northern Patagonia, Argentina
SUAREZ, M.L.; VILLALBA, R.; MUNDO, I.A.; SCHROEDER, N.
TREES-STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2015 vol. 29 p. 1053 - 1053
Understanding forest responses to climate variations is urgently needed for anticipating changes in forest composition and biodiversity. We use twelve tree-ring chronologies from Nothofagus dombeyi, the dominant tree at mesic-to-humid sites, to characterize climate?growth relationships along the west-to-east precipitation gradient in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina. A principal components analysis indicates that a large proportion of common variance in tree growth reflects regional-scale influences of climate. Correlation functions between climate and tree-ring indexes show that the critical factor regulating tree growth is spring?summer water deficit induced by above-average temperature and reduced precipitation during the growing season. At high elevations, however, tree growth appears to be less sensitive to water deficit but comparatively more sensitive to warmer conditions. Temporal trends in climate?tree growth relationships supported the occurrence of a dominant large-scale climatic response, but also identify changes in climate?growth relationships over time, primarily at wet and high-elevation sites. These variations in climate?growth relationships are interpreted as a convergence process to similar patterns in tree growth across the entire precipitation gradient, as wet?cool conditions at high-elevation sites turned to be less frequent due to drier and warmer years during the late twentieth century. Sampling along environmental gradients provides a comprehensive view of the potential range of responses of tree growth to climate which is not recorded using traditional dendrochronological sampling at marginal, more climate-sensitive sites. The recent changes in the relationships between climate and growth highlight the vulnerability of N. dombeyi to climate changes across its entire range of distribution in Argentina.