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Disentangling the effects of competition and climate on individual tree growth: A retrospective and dynamic approach in Scots pine

AutorSánchez-Salguero, R.; Linares, Juan Carlos; Camarero, Jesús Julio ; Madrigal-González, J.; Hevia, A.; Sánchez-Miranda, A.; Ballesteros-Cánovas, J. A.; Alfaro Sánchez, Raquel; García-Cervigón, Ana I.; Bigler, C.; Rigling, A.
Fecha de publicación2015
CitaciónForest Ecology and Management 358: 12-25 (2015)
ResumenUnderstanding the relative contributions of competition and climate on individual tree growth is critical to project realistic forest dynamics under projected climate scenarios. Furthermore, present competition levels may reflect legacies of past use. Here, we analyze the effects of climate, site conditions and competition on radial growth in three Scots pine stands located along an altitudinal gradient in central Spain. Current stand structure and retrospective analyses of radial growth (basal area increment, BAI) were used to model changes in tree growth as a function of a spatially-explicit competition index (CI) and climate. Linear mixed-effects models were employed to model BAI and to quantify the growth responses to climate of trees under low and high competition levels. Competition effects on growth were steady over time regardless of tree age. High competition levels negatively affected growth since negative exponential functions characterized the CI-BAI relationships. Tree growth sensitivity to climate increased with decreasing competition intensity. Growth at high elevations was mainly limited by low winter temperatures, whereas warm spring enhanced growth at middle elevations and warm late summer temperatures constrained growth at low elevation. Growth responsiveness to climate is enhanced under low competition levels. Overall, current competition is a more relevant driver of recent growth than climate. Proactive forest management should be adopted to reduce the vulnerability of Scots pine forests currently subjected to higher competition levels and warmer and drier conditions. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.08.034
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.08.034
issn: 0378-1127
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