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Forests 2017, 8(9), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8090294

Age-Effect Radial Growth Responses of Picea schrenkiana to Climate Change in the Eastern Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China

1
College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, No. 967, Anning East Road, Lanzhou 730070, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China
3
Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China
4
College of Forestry, He’nan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang 471003, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
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Abstract

The climate changed from warm-dry to warm-wet during the 1960s in northwest China. However, the effects of climate change on the response of radial growth from different age-class trees have been unclear. We assessed the age-effect radial growth responses in three age-classes (ml-old: ≥200 years, ml-middle: 100–200 years and ml-young: <100 years) of Schrenk spruce (Picea schrenkiana Fisch. et Mey.) in the eastern Tianshan Mountains. The primary conclusions were as follows: the developed chronologies of the three age-class trees contained significant climate information and exhibited high similarity as shown by calculating the statistical parameter characteristics and Gleichlaufigkeit index. The three age-class trees were consistent for annual variation trends of radial growth under climate change, showing similar fluctuations, tree-ring width chronology trends, time trends of cumulative radial growth, and basal area increment. In addition, the old and middle trees were found to be more sensitive to climate variability by analyzing Pearson correlations between radial growth from three age-class trees and climate factors. As a result, the drought caused by reduced total precipitation and higher mean temperature was a limiting factor of tree radial growth, and the trees with ages of up to 100 years were more suitable for studies on the growth-climate relationships. Thus, the studies on age-effect radial growth responses of Schrenk spruce can help not only in understanding the adaptive strategies of different-age trees to climate change, but also provide an accurate basis for climate reconstruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; radial growth response; age-effects; drought stress; eastern Tianshan Mountains climate change; radial growth response; age-effects; drought stress; eastern Tianshan Mountains
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Jiao, L.; Jiang, Y.; Wang, M.; Zhang, W.; Zhang, Y. Age-Effect Radial Growth Responses of Picea schrenkiana to Climate Change in the Eastern Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China. Forests 2017, 8, 294.

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