Anatomical tree-ring chronologies and seasonal patterns of cambial dynamics are valuable indicators of tree performance of two oak species at the Atlantic-Mediterranean boundary

Guillermo Guada*, Ute Sass-Klaassen, Manuel Souto-Herrero, Ignacio García-González

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Northwestern Iberia is characterized for being an Atlantic/Mediterranean transitional area, where the most natural forests contain certain species, typical from either biogeographic region, growing under limiting conditions due to their marginal location. In order to identify the main climatic factors controlling growth, and thus better understand how they impact wood formation processes of the key tree species in these ecosystems, we analyzed tree rings of two somehow contrasting oaks (Quercus robur, Atlantic; and Q. pyrenaica, sub-Mediterranean) at their distribution boundary towards the Mediterranean region. For this, two nearby sites with slightly different regime of water availability were selected for each species. We developed chronologies of radial increment (expressed as latewood width) and functional anatomical traits (size and number of earlywood vessels) for the last decades, and also monitored wood formation along two growing seasons. Our results suggest that the combination of anatomical traits and radial growth constitute a useful tool to understand the behavior of these species in boundary distribution areas. We found some differences between sites, especially for Q. pyrenaica, but the main factors controlling growth were clearly identified at all sites. Earlywood characteristics were mainly related to temperature, whereas latewood width responded to precipitation, regardless of the species. However, vessels of low-elevation Q. robur seemed to be controlled by factors affecting carbohydrate balance, while those of high-elevation Q. pyrenaica were associated to spring conditions for growth resumption. Summer water availability was linked to a wider latewood for both species. In addition, the analysis of xylogenesis carried out at all sites was essential to interpret climate responses by providing evidences for the existence of a cause-effect relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125893
JournalDendrochronologia
Volume70
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Dendrochronology
  • Earlywood vessels
  • Leaf phenology
  • Quercus pyrenaica
  • Quercus robur
  • Xylogenesis

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