Has global change induced divergent trends in radial growth of Pinus sylvestris and Pinus halepensis at their bioclimatic limit? The example of the Sainte-Baume forest (south-east France)

Abstract : It is agreed that climate (precipitation and temperature) influences the distribution of plant species. Near the margins of a species’ natural range, climate becomes limiting to physiological processes. There, climate change may be expected to have a significant impact on tree growth and the species’ranges may be altered. In order to assess what influence climate change could exert on the distribution of pine species at their margin, radial growth trends in ring-width chronologies over the last century were analysed. In the French Mediterranean area where climate change is characterized by increased temperature, forest plots were selected along an altitudinal transect on the north-facing slope of the Sainte-Baume mountain (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) where the ranges of Pinus sylvestris and Pinus halepensis overlap. Two growth patterns were identified. For P. halepensis, radial growth has increased at all altitudes indicating that climate change has improved growth conditions of this species near the margin of its ecological range. For P. sylvestris, radial growth has increased only at low altitudes and even decreased at high altitudes. It must be deduced that the growth changes observed cannot be generalised either at the species level or at the geographical level and must be interpreted with great caution.
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Bruno Vila, Michel Vennetier, Christian Ripert, Olivier Chandioux, Eryuan Liang, et al.. Has global change induced divergent trends in radial growth of Pinus sylvestris and Pinus halepensis at their bioclimatic limit? The example of the Sainte-Baume forest (south-east France). Annals of Forest Science, Springer Verlag/EDP Sciences, 2008, 65 (7), pp.1. ⟨hal-00883434⟩

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