Assessing Responses of Tree Growth to Climate Change at Inter- and Intra-Annual Temporal Scale

Authored by: Sergio Rossi , Jian-Guo Huang , Hubert Morin

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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In trees, the length of the growing season, which influences the resulting volume of wood produced by the stem, is determined by the phenology of primary and secondary meristems and the growth rate, which are in turn determined by climate (Rathgeber et al. 2011; Rossi et al. 2014). In addition, the phenology of the secondary meristems, a much less studied trait, has an impact on the quality of wood, including its density. The wide temporal scale of forest production, covering from a few decades to a century, requires the adaptation of the trees to both current and future environmental conditions. Thus, knowledge of how and when the meristems are active and trees grow could support forest management strategies. If well planned, stands in most productive areas could achieve the desired growth characteristics and adaptation to local climate for ensuring a constant and sustainable wood production. The accuracy of growth estimations of trees and their responses to the environment should be considered especially carefully within a context of climate change. In its report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that climate change is a reality (IPCC 2013). Over the next 50 years, the increase in atmospheric CO2 will be accompanied by a substantial warming, mainly at the highest latitudes and altitudes. Such changes will have significant impacts on the growth of most tree species, particularly on production and quality of wood (O’Neill and Nigh 2011).

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