Stem radial variations of Corsican Black pine (Pinus nigra
Arnold subsp. laricio
Maire) and Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster
Aiton) were monitored to quantify the impact of two meteorologically contrasting consecutive years. On the French island of Corsica, in the western Mediterranean basin, the year 2017 was extremely dry, while 2018 was exceptionally wet. We attached electric band dendrometers to 36 pines along an east–west transect, spanning the central mountain range, and set up automated weather stations at all five sites, ranging from 10 m asl to 1600 m asl. Stem radial variations (SRV) were separated into irreversible growth (GRO) and tree water deficit (TWD) periods. During the drought of 2017, the most severe tree water deficits occurred in the western part of the island, whereas trees at higher elevations were more affected than at lower elevations. A prolonged decrease of SRV, even close to the tree line, suggests bimodal growth and reveals high plasticity of growth patterns in both Corsican pines. Stem radial variations correlated significantly with precipitation and temperature. The positive correlations of GRO with precipitation and the negative correlations of TWD with temperature imply that high evapotranspiration led to the intense period of TWD in 2017. A novel approach was used to further investigate the growth/climate relationship by including synoptic-scale pressure situations. This revealed that an elevation gradient in GRO per weather pattern was only present in the wet year and that even rarely occurring weather patterns can have a substantial impact on tree growth. This novel approach provides a more comprehensive insight into meteorological drivers of tree growth patterns by incorporating different scales of the climatic system.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.