Current issue: 54(2)
The ongoing climate change may have a distinct effect on Norway spruce growth, one of the most important tree species in European forest management. Therefore, the understanding and assessment of climate-growth relationship can help to reveal relevant patterns in temporal variability that may result in lower tree vitality and decline. The main objective of our study was to evaluate the long-term climate-growth variability of Norway spruce in south-eastern Norway, at the northern edge of the temperate zone. We sampled in total 270 dominant and co-dominant trees from 18 plots in south-eastern Norway. We analysed stem cores and evaluated crown condition parameters to assess the retrospective tree growth and vitality. Despite considerable differences in the crown parameters, high similarity among tree-ring width (TRW) series allowed compiling the regional tree-ring width chronology. Correlations between TRW and climate parameters showed temporal instability in their relationship during the period 1915–2012. While we did not detect any significant relationships between TRW and climate parameters in the first half of the study period (1915–1963), a significant correlation between TRW and spring precipitation was observed for the period 1964–2012. This shift appeared concurrent with temperatures reaching above-average values compared to the average of the climate normal period 1961–1990.
Various environmental conditions (heat waves and drought events) strongly affect leaf and xylem phenology. Disentangling the influence of temperature, precipitation and soil moisture content (AWR) on the forest productivity remains an important research area. We analyzed the impact of climate variability on the leaf phenology (10 sample trees) and radial growth (17 sample trees) of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). The study was conducted on 130-year-old European beech trees growing in a temperate forest stand in the Czech Republic. Detailed 20-year phenological monitoring was performed at the study site (1992–2011). As expected, leaf phenological events were mainly driven by the growing season temperatures. Leaf unfolding was highly affected positively by spring temperatures and the top-layer (to 40 cm) AWR in March. The correlation of tree-ring width with the interpolated climate data was positive significant for the growing season AWR and precipitation signal. Furthermore, the water availability in the top soil layer was found to be an important predictor of tree growth and extremely low growth occurrence. The extended phenological growing season, which was caused by a temperature increase, was not followed by an increased tree-ring width. The examined relationships point out the significance of the water availability in the top soil layer in European beech stands.