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Dendroclimatic analysis of central Appalachian red spruce in West Virginia

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Yetter, Eric ; Chhin, Sophan ; Brown, John P.

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Canadian Journal of Forest Research


We conducted dendroclimatic analyses and constructed future growth projections for red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) throughout the central Appalachians in the state of West Virginia. This study involved field sampling of 18 sites across red spruce’s range in six regions throughout the Monongahela National Forest that were selected based on pairwise combinations of three latitudinal groups (north, central, and south) with two aspects (north and south). Each combination of latitudinal group and aspect was referred to as a landscape cluster. Growth was negatively impacted by high summer temperature stress but responded favorably to high fall temperatures. The results also suggested that red spruce was likely impacted by the degree of winter harshness in all landscape clusters. In the northern latitudinal landscape clusters, red spruce responded favorably to warm spring temperatures by allowing an early start to the growing season. Growth projections under a future climate change scenario show that future expected increases in mean and maximum monthly temperatures will have negative effects on future spruce growth. The forecasting results suggested that red spruce in northern latitudes on south aspects or central latitudes on north aspects are the landscape clusters that will likely be the most resilient to future climate change. Dendroclimatic results and future growth projections can assist with identifying locations that are most suitable for future red spruce restoration activities.


climate change; dendrochronology; red spruce; restoration


Yetter, Eric; Chhin, Sophan; Brown, John P. 2021. Dendroclimatic analysis of central Appalachian red spruce in West Virginia. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 51(11): 1607-1620.

Last updated on: November 5, 2021