Moisture-Limited Tree Growth for a Subtropical Himalayan Conifer Forest in Western Nepal
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Tree Ring Res Lab
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CitationSigdel SR, Dawadi B, Camarero JJ, Liang E, Leavitt SW. Moisture-Limited Tree Growth for a Subtropical Himalayan Conifer Forest in Western Nepal. Forests. 2018; 9(6):340.
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AbstractChir pine (Pinus roxburghii Sarg.) is a common tree species with ecological and economic importance across the subtropical forests of the central Himalayas. However, little is known about its growth response to the recent warming and drying trends observed in this region. Here, we developed a 268-year-long ring-width chronology (1743-2010) from western Nepal to investigate its growth response to climate. Based on nearby available meteorological records, growth was positively correlated with winter (November to February; r = 0.39, p < 0.05) as well as March to April (r = 0.67, p < 0.001) precipitation. Growth also showed a strong positive correlation with the sum of precipitation from November of the previous year to April of the current year (r = 0.65, p < 0.001). In contrast, a negative relationship with the mean temperature in March to April (r = -0.48, p < 0.05) suggests the influence of warming-induced evapotranspiration on tree growth. Spring droughts lasting 4-6 months constrain Chir pine growth. These results are supported by the synchronization between droughts and very narrow or locally missing rings. Warming and drying tendencies during winter and spring will reduce forest growth and resilience and make Chir pine forests more vulnerable and at higher risk of growth decline and dieback.
NoteOpen Access Journal.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Natural Science Foundation of China [41661144040, 41525001]; Chinese Academy of Sciences President's International Fellowship Initiative [2018PC0040]; Open Research Fund of Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environmental Changes and Land Surface Processes, Chinese Academy of Sciences; China Scholarship Council ; Spanish Ministry of Economy [CGL2015-69186-C2-1-R]