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Species- and Elevation-Dependent Growth Responses to Climate Warming of Mountain Forests in the Qinling Mountains, Central China

1
Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
2
College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
3
Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology and Biodiversity, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100101, China
4
CAS Centre for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
5
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1005, 50192 Zaragoza, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(5), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050248
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree-Ring Records of Climatic Impacts on Forests)
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Abstract

Climate warming is significantly affecting the composition and function of forest ecosystems. However, the forest responses to climate change in sub-humid and temperate areas are understudied compared with cold and semi-arid areas. Here, we investigate the radial-growth responses of two subalpine conifer species along an elevational gradient located in the Qinling Mountains, a sub-humid and temperate area situated in central China. Three sites dominated by larch (Larix chinensis Beissn.) and two other sites dominated by fir (Abies fargesii Franch.) located at different elevations were sampled. L. chinensis at a higher elevation showed more common and stronger climatic signals than A. fargesii at a lower elevation. The radial growth of L. chinensis was limited by low pre-growing season temperatures and showed an increasing growth trend in the last few years. On the other hand, A. fargesii growth was limited by summer water shortage and it was characterized by a declining trend in the most recent decade. Consequently, L. chinensis would benefit from climate warming, whereas A. fargesii could be regarded as a vulnerable tree species to warming-induced drought stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate warming; dendroecology; temperate forests; tree rings climate warming; dendroecology; temperate forests; tree rings
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Liu, B.; Liang, E.; Liu, K.; Camarero, J.J. Species- and Elevation-Dependent Growth Responses to Climate Warming of Mountain Forests in the Qinling Mountains, Central China. Forests 2018, 9, 248.

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