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Recent Consequences of Climate Change Have Affected Tree Growth in Distinct Nothofagus macrocarpa (DC.) FM Vaz & Rodr Age Classes in Central Chile

1
Hémera Centro de Observación de la Tierra, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal, Facultad de Ciencias, José Toribio Medina 29, Santiago 8340589, Chile
2
Laboratorio de Dendrocronología e Historia Ambiental, Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales, CCT CONICET Mendoza, CC 330, Mendoza M5502IRA, Argentina
3
Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Av. Almirante Brown 500, Mendoza 5505, Argentina
4
Departamento de Silvicultura y Conservación de la Naturaleza, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y de la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8820808, Chile
5
Centro de Investigaciones de la Geosfera y Biosfera, CCT CONICET San Juan, Av. Ignacio De La Roza 590, San Juan 5400, Argentina
6
Laboratorio de Dendrocronología y Estudios Ambientales, Instituto de Geografía, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso 2362807, Chile
7
Centro Transdisciplinario de Estudios Ambientales y Desarrollo Humano Sostenible (CEAM), Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 5110566, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080653
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 30 July 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influence of Climate Change on Tree Growth and Forest Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Forests play an important role in water and carbon cycles in semiarid regions such as the Mediterranean ecosystems. Previous research in the Chilean Mediterranean forests revealed a break point in 1980 in regional tree-ring chronologies linked to climate change. However, it is still unclear which populations and age classes are more affected by recent increases in drought conditions. In this study, we investigated the influence of recent variations in precipitation, temperature, and CO2 concentrations on tree growth of various populations and age classes of Nothofagus macrocarpa trees in Central Chile. We sampled 10 populations from five sites of N. macrocarpa through its whole geographic distribution in both Coastal and Andes ranges. We used standard dendrochronological methods to (i) group populations using principal component analysis, (ii) separate age classes (young, mature, and old trees), (iii) evaluate linear growth trends based on the basal area increment (BAI), and (iv) analyze the link between BAI and atmospheric changes using linear mixed-effects models. Results showed that young trees are more sensitive to climate variability. Regarding population grouping, we observed that all population clusters were sensitive to winter-spring precipitation, but only the Andes and Coastal populations were negatively correlated with temperature. The results of CO2 fertilization analyses were controversial and unclear. Since young trees from all population clusters reacted positively in the phase with an increase of atmospheric CO2 between 1980 and 2014, this behavior was not translated into growth for the last 15 years (2000–2014). However, it should be noted that the young trees of the highest elevation populations did not have a negative growth trend, so it seems that CO2 counteracted the negative effect of recent regional climate change (increase in temperature and precipitation decrease) in these population trees. Further studies are needed to assess the effects of climate variability over other ecological and physiological processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: dendro-ecology; hotspot forest; mid-latitude southern hemisphere; climate-growth interactions by age classes; rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations; basal area increment; Roble de Santiago; Mediterranean forests dendro-ecology; hotspot forest; mid-latitude southern hemisphere; climate-growth interactions by age classes; rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations; basal area increment; Roble de Santiago; Mediterranean forests
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Venegas-González, A.; Roig, F.A.; Peña-Rojas, K.; Hadad, M.A.; Aguilera-Betti, I.; Muñoz, A.A. Recent Consequences of Climate Change Have Affected Tree Growth in Distinct Nothofagus macrocarpa (DC.) FM Vaz & Rodr Age Classes in Central Chile. Forests 2019, 10, 653.

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