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Vulnerability of white spruce tree growth in interior Alaska in response to climate variability: dendrochronological, demographic, and experimental perspectives

TitleVulnerability of white spruce tree growth in interior Alaska in response to climate variability: dendrochronological, demographic, and experimental perspectives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMcGuire, DA, Ruess, RW, Lloyd, A, Yarie, J, Clein, JS, Juday, GP
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume40
Pagination1197–1209
Abstract

This paper integrates dendrochronological, demographic, and experimental perspectives to improve understandingof the response of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) tree growth to climatic variability in interior Alaska.The dendrochronological analyses indicate that climate warming has led to widespread declines in white spruce growththroughout interior Alaska that have become more prevalent during the 20th century. Similarly, demographic studies showthat white spruce tree growth is substantially limited by soil moisture availability in both mid- and late-successional stands.Interannual variability in tree growth among stands within a landscape exhibits greater synchrony than does growth oftrees that occupy different landscapes, which agrees with dendrochronological findings that the responses depend on landscapeposition and prevailing climate. In contrast, the results from 18 years of a summer moisture limitation experimentshowed that growth in midsuccessional upland stands was unaffected by moisture limitation and that moisture limitationdecreased white spruce growth in floodplain stands where it was expected that growth would be less vulnerable because oftree access to river water. Taken together, the evidence from the different perspectives analyzed in this study clearly indicatesthat white spruce tree growth in interior Alaska is vulnerable to the effects of warming on plant water balance.

DOI10.1139/X09-206
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