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Dendroclimatic analysis of white pine (Pinus strobus L.) using long-term provenance test sites across eastern North America

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Chhin, Sophan ; Zalesny, Ronald S.; Parker, William C.; Brissette, John

Year Published



Forest Ecosystems


Background: The main objective of this study was to examine the climatic sensitivity of the radial growth response of 13 eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) provenances planted at seven test sites throughout the northern part of the species' native distribution in eastern North America. Methods: The test sites (i.e., Wabeno, Wisconsin, USA; Manistique, Michigan, USA; Pine River, Michigan, USA; Newaygo, Michigan, USA; Turkey Point, Ontario, Canada; Ganaraska, Ontario, Canada; and Orono, Maine, USA) examined in this study were part of a range-wide white pine provenance trial established in the early 1960s in the eastern United States and Canada. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to examine the main modes of variation [first (PC1) and second (PC2) principal component axes] in the standardized radial growth indices of the provenances at each test site. The year scores for PC1 and PC2 were examined in relation to an array of test site climate variables using multiple regression analysis to examine the commonality of growth response across all provenances to the climate of each test site. Provenance loadings on PC1 and PC2 were correlated with geographic parameters (i.e., latitude, longitude, elevation) and a suite of biophysical parameters associated with provenance origin location. Results: The amount of variation in radial growth explained by PC1 and PC2 ranged from 43.4% to 89.6%. Dendroclimatic models revealed that white pine radial growth responses to climate were complex and differed among sites. The key dendroclimatic relationships observed included sensitivity to high temperature in winter and summer, cold temperature in the spring and fall (i.e., beginning and end of the growing season), summer moisture stress, potential sensitivity to storminduced damage in spring and fall, and both positive and negative effects of higher winter snowfall. Separation of the loadings of provenances on principal component axes was mainly associated with temperature-related bioclimatic parameters of provenance origin at 5 of the 7 test sites close to the climate influence of the Great Lakes (i.e., Wabeno, Manistique, Pine River, Newaygo, and Turkey Point). In contrast, differences in radial growth response to climate at the Ganaraska test site, were driven more by precipitation-related bioclimatic parameters of the provenance origin location while radial growth at the easternmost Orono test site was independent of bioclimate at the provenance origin location. Conclusions: Study results suggest that genetic adaptation to temperature and precipitation regime may significantly influence radial growth performance of white pine populations selected for use in assisted migration programs to better adapt white pine to a future climate.


Adaptation; Climate change; Dendrochronology; Seed source


Chhin, Sophan; Zalesny, Ronald S. Jr.; Parker, William C.; Brissette, John. 2018. Dendroclimatic analysis of white pine (Pinus strobus L.) using long-term provenance test sites across eastern North America. Forest Ecosystems. 5(1):18. 15 p.

Last updated on: August 20, 2018