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Open AccessArticle

Screening the Resilience of Short-Rotation Woody Crops to Climate Change

Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, 126 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222, USA
Academic Editors: Mary J. Thornbush, Nir Y. Krakauer and Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6010007
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
Sustainable woody biofeedstock production systems require a reliable supply of woody biomass that could be affected by future climate change. However, there is limited understanding of the climatic sensitivity of short rotation woody crops, such as hybrid aspens. The general objective of this study is to identify climatically resilient hybrid aspen clones for woody biomass feedstock development. Specifically, tree-ring analysis methods (dendrochronology) were used to quantify the influence of climate on stem growth rates of hybrid aspens by measuring year-to-year changes in tree-ring width from different cultivars of hybrid aspen and relating annual growth patterns with past instrumental climate records (i.e., temperature and moisture index). Tree-ring analysis was conducted on a full-sib progeny plantation of different cultivars of hybrid aspens (Populus × smithii derived from different geographical variants of aspen parents: trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata) located on Michigan State University property in the Sandhill Research Area (42.7°N latitude; 84.5°W longitude). Overall, the hybrid aspen families examined in this study were more sensitive to moisture related stressors compared to a weaker or no response to temperature stressors. By the end of the 21st century (2071–2100), 11 out of the 18 hybrid aspen families will be vulnerable to future changes in moisture stress, while the remaining families were screened to be resilient to future changes in moisture stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioenergy; biofuels; climate change; dendrochronology; drought sensitivity; ecophysiology; hybrid aspen; tree rings bioenergy; biofuels; climate change; dendrochronology; drought sensitivity; ecophysiology; hybrid aspen; tree rings
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Chhin, S. Screening the Resilience of Short-Rotation Woody Crops to Climate Change. Geosciences 2016, 6, 7.

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