Advertisement

Climatic Change

, Volume 150, Issue 3–4, pp 211–225 | Cite as

Climatic drivers of tree growth at tree line in Southwest Yukon change over time and vary between landscapes

  • Katherine D. Dearborn
  • Ryan K. Danby
Article

Abstract

Growth of trees at their altitudinal and latitudinal range limits is expected to increase as climate warms, but trees often exhibit unexplained spatial and temporal variation in climate-growth responses, particularly in alpine regions. Until this variability is explained, predictions of future tree growth are unlikely to be accurate. We sampled Picea glauca (white spruce) growing at forest and tree line on north and south aspects in two mountain ranges of southwest Yukon to determine how and why ring-width patterns vary between topographic settings, and over time. We used multivariate statistical analysis to characterize variation in ring-width patterns between topographic factors and time periods, and calculated correlations between ring-width indices and climate variables to explain this variation. Ring-width patterns varied more between mountain ranges than elevations or aspects, particularly in recent decades when ring-widths increased in one mountain range but not the other. Growth responses to summer temperature were notably weaker during warmer time periods, but growth was not positively correlated to summer precipitation, suggesting trees may not be suffering from temperature-induced drought stress. Rather, ring-width indices began responding positively to spring snow depth after 1976. We conclude that tree growth is unlikely to increase in synchrony with rising air temperatures across subarctic tree lines in southwest Yukon. Instead, they may decline in areas that are prone to thin snowpacks or rapid spring runoff due to the negative influence warming springs will have on snow depth and, consequently, early growing season soil moisture.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Allison Slater, Laura Kitchen, Courtenay Jacklin, Lucas Brehaut, and Daz Kambo for help with fieldwork; Sian Williams, Lance Goodwin, and staff at the Kluane Lake Research Station for their generosity and logistical support; the Kluane First Nation for kind permission to conduct research on their traditional territory; and Tom Kurkowski, Stephanie McAfee, Dan McKenney, and Pia Papadopol for assistance with and provision of climate data.

Funding information

Funding for this research was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Queen’s University, and the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP).

Supplementary material

10584_2018_2268_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (206 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 205 kb)
10584_2018_2268_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (56 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 55 kb)
10584_2018_2268_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (41 kb)
ESM 3 (PDF 40 kb)
10584_2018_2268_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (2.6 mb)
ESM 4 (PDF 2614 kb)

References

  1. Andreu-Hayles L, D’Arrigo RD, Anchukaitis K et al (2011) Varying boreal forest response to Arctic environmental change at the Firth River, Alaska. Environ Res Lett 6:1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/049502 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brownlee AH, Sullivan PF, Csank AZ et al (2016) Drought-induced stomatal closure probably cannot explain divergent white spruce growth in the Brooks Range, Alaska, USA. Ecology 97:145–159.  https://doi.org/10.1890/15-0338.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chavardès RD, Daniels LD, Waeber PO et al (2013) Unstable climate−growth relations for white spruce in Southwest Yukon, Canada. Clim Chang 116:593–611.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0503-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cook ER, Holmes RL (1986) Users manual for program ARSTAN. In: Holmes R, Adams R, Fritts H (eds) Tree-ring chronologies of western North America: California. Eastern Oregon and Northern Great Basin. Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, pp 50–65Google Scholar
  5. D’Arrigo RD, Kaufmann RK, Davi N et al (2004) Thresholds for warming-induced growth decline at elevational tree line in the Yukon territory, Canada. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 18:1–7.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GB002249 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. D’Arrigo RD, Wilson R, Liepert B, Cherubini P (2008) On the “divergence problem” in northern forests: a review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Glob Planet Change 60:289–305.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.03.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Danby RK, Hik DS (2007) Variability, contingency and rapid change in recent subarctic alpine tree line dynamics. J Ecol 95:352–363.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01200.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dearborn KD, Danby RK (2017) Aspect and slope influence plant community composition more than elevation across forest-tundra ecotones in subarctic Canada. J Veg Sci 28:595–604.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12521 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Driscoll WW, Wiles GC, D’Arrigo RD, Wilmking M (2005) Divergent tree growth response to recent climatic warming, Lake Clark National Park and preserve, Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 32:1–4.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL024258 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Environment and Climate Change Canada (n.d.) Historical data. Available at: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/historical_data/search_historic_data_e.html
  11. Fleming SW, Whitfield PH (2010) Spatiotemporal mapping of ENSO and PDO surface meteorological signals in British Columbia, Yukon, and Southeast Alaska. Atmosphere-Ocean 48:122–131.  https://doi.org/10.3137/AO1107.2010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griesbauer HP, Green DS (2012) Geographic and temporal patterns in white spruce climate-growth relationships in Yukon, Canada. For Ecol Manag 267:215–227.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2011.12.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holmes RL (1983) Computer-assisted quality control in tree-ring dating and measurement. Tree-Ring Bull 43:69–78Google Scholar
  14. Kambo D, Danby RK (2018) Factors influencing the establishment and growth of tree seedlings at subarctic alpine treelines. Ecosphere.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2176 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Körner C, Paulsen J (2004) A world-wide study of high altitude treeline temperatures. J Biogeogr 31:713–732.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2003.01043.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leonelli G, Pelfini M, Battipaglia G, Cherubini P (2009) Site-aspect influence on climate sensitivity over time of a high-altitude Pinus cembra tree-ring network. Clim Chang 96:185–201.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-009-9574-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liang E, Shao X, Eckstein D et al (2006) Topography and species-dependent growth responses of Sabina przewalskii and Picea crassifolia to climate on the northeast Tibetan plateau. For Ecol Manag 236:268–277.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2006.09.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lloyd A, Fastie C (2002) Spatial and temporal variability in the growth and climate response of treeline trees in Alaska. Clim Chang 52:481–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lloyd AH, Duffy PA, Mann DH (2013) Nonlinear responses of white spruce growth to climate variability in interior Alaska. Can J For Res 43:331–343.  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2012-0372 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mantua N, Hare S (2002) The Pacific decadal oscillation. J Oceanogr 58:35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McAfee S, Guentchev G, Eischeid J (2014) Reconciling precipitation trends in Alaska: 2. Gridded data analyses. J Geophys Res Atmos:820–837.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JD022461 Google Scholar
  22. McCune B, Mefford MJ (2011) PC-ORD. Multivariate analysis of ecological data. Version 6.08. MjM Software Design, Gleneden BeachGoogle Scholar
  23. McKenney DW, Hutchinson MF, Papadopol P et al (2011) Customized spatial climate models for North America. Bull Am Meteorol Soc:1611–1622.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-10-3132.1
  24. Noguchi K, Matsuura Y, Sparrow SD, Hinzman LD (2016) Fine root biomass in two black spruce stands in interior Alaska: effects of different permafrost conditions. Trees 30:441–449.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-015-1226-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oberhuber W (2004) Influence of climate on radial growth of Pinus cembra within the alpine timberline ecotone. Tree Physiol 24:291–301.  https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/24.3.291 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ohse B, Jansen F, Wilmking M (2012) Do limiting factors at Alaskan treelines shift with climatic regimes? Environ Res Lett 7:1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/015505 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pachauri RK, Meyer LA (2014) IPCC, 2014: climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
  28. Porter TJ, Pisaric MFJ (2011) Temperature-growth divergence in white spruce forests of old crow flats, Yukon territory, and adjacent regions of northwestern North America. Glob Chang Biol 17:3418–3430.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02507.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Price D, McKenney D, Joyce L (2011) High-resolution interpolation of climate scenarios for Canada derived from general circulation model simulations. Canadian Forestry ServiceGoogle Scholar
  30. Qi Z, Liu H, Wu X, Hao Q (2015) Climate-driven speedup of alpine treeline forest growth in the Tianshan Mountains, northwestern China. Glob Chang Biol 21:816–826.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12703 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scudder G (1997) Environment of the Yukon. In: Danks HV, Downes JA (eds) Insects of the Yukon. Biological Survey of Canada (Terretrial Arthropods), Ottawa, pp 13–57Google Scholar
  32. Sherriff RL, Miller AE, Muth K et al (2017) Spruce growth responses to warming vary by ecoregion and ecosystem type near the forest-tundra boundary in south-west Alaska. J Biogeogr:1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12968 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smith CAS, Meikle JC, Roots CF (eds) (2004) Ecoregions of the Yukon Territory: biophysical properties of Yukon landscapes. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, PARC Technical Bulletin No. 04-01, SummerlandGoogle Scholar
  34. Villalba R, Boninsegna J, Veblen T (1997) Recent trends in tree-ring records from high elevation sites in the Andes of northern Patagonia. Clim Chang 36:425–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Walker XJ, Mack MC, Johnstone JF (2015) Stable carbon isotope analysis reveals widespread drought stress in boreal black spruce forests. Glob Chang Biol 21:3102–3113.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12893 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wolken JM, Landhäusser S, Lieffers V, Silins U (2011) Seedling growth and water use of boreal conifers across different temperatures and near-flooded soil conditions. Can J For Res 41:2292–2300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wolken JM, Mann DH, Grant TA et al (2016) Climate-growth relationships along a black spruce toposequence in interior Alaska. Arctic Antarct Alp Res 48:637–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yamaguchi DK (1991) A simple method for cross-dating increment cores from living trees. Can J For Res 21:414–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Youngblut D, Luckman B (2008) Maximum June–July temperatures in the Southwest Yukon over the last 300 years reconstructed from tree rings. Dendrochronologia 25:153–166.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dendro.2006.11.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.School of Environmental StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations