Missing Rings, Synchronous Growth, and Ecological Disturbance in a 36-Year Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) Provenance Study
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PLOS ONE. 11(5): e0154730-.
Provenance studies are an increasingly important analog for understanding how trees adapted to particular climatic conditions might respond to climate change. Dendrochronological analysis can illuminate differences among trees from different seed sources in terms of absolute annual growth and sensitivity to external growth factors. We analyzed annual radial growth of 567 36-year-old pitch pine (Pinus rigida Mill.) trees from 27 seed sources to evaluate their performance in a New Jersey Pine Barrens provenance experiment. Unexpectedly, missing rings were prevalent in most trees, and some years—1992, 1999, and 2006—had a particularly high frequency of missing rings across the plantation. Trees from local see sources (<55 km away from the plantation) had a significantly smaller percentage of missing rings from 1980-2009 (mean: 5.0%) relative to northernmost and southernmost sources (mean: 9.3% and 7.9%, respectively). Some years with a high frequency of missing rings coincide with outbreaks of defoliating insects or dry growing season conditions. The propensity for missing rings synchronized annual variations in growth across all trees and might have complicated the detection of potential differences in interannual variability among seed sources. Average ring width was significantly larger in seed sources from both the southernmost and warmest origins compared to the northernmost and coldest seed sources in most years. Local seed sources had the highest average radial growth. Adaptation to local environmental conditions and disturbances might have influenced the higher growth rate found in local seed sources. These findings underscore the need to understand the integrative impact of multiple environmental drivers, such as disturbance agents and climate change, on tree growth, forest dynamics, and the carbon cycle.
Leland, Caroline; Hom, John; Skowronski, Nicholas; Ledig, F. Thomas; Krusic, Paul J.; Cook, Edward R.; Martin-Benito, Dario; Martin-Fernandez, Javier; Pederson, Neil; Gomory, Dusan. 2016. Missing Rings, Synchronous Growth, and Ecological Disturbance in a 36-Year Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) Provenance Study. PLOS ONE. 11(5): e0154730-. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154730.