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Direct and Indirect Effects of Environmental Limitations on White Spruce Xylem Anatomy at Treeline

  • Treeline ecosystems are of great scientific interest to study the effects of limiting environmental conditions on tree growth. However, tree growth is multidimensional, with complex interactions between height and radial growth. In this study, we aimed to disentangle effects of height and climate on xylem anatomy of white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] at three treeline sites in Alaska; i.e., one warm and drought-limited, and two cold, temperature-limited. To analyze general growth differences between trees from different sites, we used data on annual ring width, diameter at breast height (DBH), and tree height. A representative subset of the samples was used to investigate xylem anatomical traits. We then used linear mixed-effects models to estimate the effects of height and climatic variables on our study traits. Our study showed that xylem anatomical traits in white spruce can be directly and indirectly controlled by environmental conditions: hydraulic-related traits seem to be mainly influenced by tree height, especially in the earlywood. Thus, they are indirectly driven by environmental conditions, through the environment’s effects on tree height. Traits related to mechanical support show a direct response to environmental conditions, mainly temperature, especially in the latewood. These results highlight the importance of assessing tree growth in a multidimensional way by considering both direct and indirect effects of environmental forcing to better understand the complexity of tree growth responses to the environment.

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Author: Timo Pampuch, Alba Anadon-Rosell, Mario Trouillier, Jelena Lange, Martin Wilmking
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Plant Science
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2021/10/25
Release Date:2021/11/10
Tag:boreal forest; conduit reinforcement; drought limitation; hydraulic stability; temperature limitation; tree allometry; tree height
GND Keyword:-
Faculties:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Botanik und Landschaftsökologie & Botanischer Garten
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung