Rapid Warming Exacerbates Winter Drought Stress in Trees at High-Altitude Areas in Northeast China

Zhang, Rui and Bai, Xueping and Tian, Xun and Chen, Zhenju and Zhang, Haiyue and Liu, Haiting (2024) Rapid Warming Exacerbates Winter Drought Stress in Trees at High-Altitude Areas in Northeast China. Forests, 15 (3). p. 565. ISSN 1999-4907

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Against the background of global warming, trees in high-latitude and high-altitude areas are more sensitive to rapid warming. Revealing the response patterns of trees at different altitudes to rapid warming in typical alpine mountain environments can help to predict the future distribution of forests in the region and the associated changes in the timberline. This study used tree-ring width data (band sampling) from Dahurian larch (Larix gmelinii Rupr.) along an altitudinal gradient (970–1409 m) on Oakley Mountain to establish 10 chronologies and to analyze the growth–climate response of larch to warming and altitudinal changes along a gradient. The results showed that before rapid warming, larch growth was strongly influenced mainly by precipitation in July–August, while after warming, the growth was controlled mainly by precipitation (snowfall) in winter (October–April) and showed a significant positive correlation with the SPEI in winter and a negative correlation with temperature in February–April (early spring). This indicates that the rapid warming event led to a drastic change in the water heat balance during the pre-growth period of the trees in the study area, which shifted the tree growth from being restricted by drought in the growing season before warming to being restricted by winter drought (i.e., the lagged effect of snowfall in the pre-growing season) after warming and that the trees at low altitudes suffered from more severe winter drought. In the future, as the global climate warms further, the growth of mountain larch at low altitudes (below 1200 m) will continue to decrease, and the coupling of winter snowfall and seasonal (February–April) warming will increase the upper altitude limit at which winter drought occurs for larch in the study area; additionally, larch at higher altitudes will be able to cope with this ecological process better.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Eurolib Press > Multidisciplinary
Depositing User: Managing Editor
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2024 05:21
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 05:21
URI: http://info.submit4journal.com/id/eprint/3512

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