Eastern white pine and eastern hemlock growth: possible tradeoffs in response of canopy trees to climate
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Canadian Journal of Forest Research
A warming climate and extended growing season may confer competitive advantages to temperate conifers that can photosynthesize across seasons. Whether this potential translates into increased growth is unclear, as is whether pollution could constrain growth. We examined two temperate conifers—eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière)—and analyzed associations between growth (476 trees in 23 plots) and numerous factors, including climate and pollutant deposition variables. Both species exhibited increasing growth over time and eastern white pine showed greater maximum growth. Higher spring temperatures were associated with greater growth for both species, as were higher autumnal temperatures for eastern hemlock. Negative correlations were observed with previous year (eastern hemlock) and current year (eastern white pine) summer temperatures. Spring and summer moisture availability were positively correlated with growth for eastern white pine throughout its chronology, whereas for hemlock, correlations with moisture shifted from being significant with current year's growth to previous year's growth over time. The growth of these temperate conifersmight benefit fromhigher spring (both species) and fall (eastern hemlock) temperatures, though this could be offset by reductions in growth associated with hotter, drier summers.
Keywordsdendrochronology; temperate conifers; temperature; moisture; climate change
Stern, Rebecca L.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Rayback, Shelly A.; Murakami, Paula F.; Hansen, Christopher F.; Hawley, Gary J. 2021. Eastern white pine and eastern hemlock growth: possible tradeoffs in response of canopy trees to climate. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 51(12): 1926-1938. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2020-0512.