Scots pine plantations growth adaptation to climate warming in locations at the southernmost distribution limit of the species uri icon

abstract

  • Under the current climate change conjuncture, understanding the forest plantations capacity of acclimation to warming and increased drought stress is crucial for forest managers. To get some understanding of their adaptability, plantations of similar provenance but located in climatically contrasting sites can be compared. Here we study the growth dynamics and their relationship with climate and drought in two Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations located in the center (Sierra de Guadarrama, wetter site) and south (Sierra Nevada, drier site) of Spain, the latter situated at the southernmost distribution limit of the species. Our objectives are to quantify the trends in radial growth of these plantations, to quantify the influence of climate on growth, and to project the plantations growth as a function of forecasted climate. Results reveal that the plantations from the drier site show lower, and less responsive to climate, growth and greater resilience than those from the wetter site. Furthermore, if the current climate-growth relationships continue in the future, these plantations would maintain the current limited growth rate during the 21st century. On the contrary, plantations from the wetter site show higher growth rate and more resistance to drought, and they are projected to increase growth under the warmer conditions forecasted for the 21st century. Our study shows that plantations in drier sites may have a great capacity to acclimate to local climate conditions and would not be negatively impacted by the projected climate warming.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020