Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 273–287 | Cite as

Forecasting the effects of global warming on radial growth of subalpine trees at the upper and lower distribution limits in central Japan

  • Koichi TakahashiEmail author
  • Isao Okuhara


Effects of global warming on radial growth were examined for the subalpine tree species Abies veitchii (1600–2200 m a.s.l.), A. mariesii (2000–2500 m a.s.l.) and Betula ermanii (1600–2500 m a.s.l.) in central Japan, by using dendrochronological techniques. Chronologies of tree-ring widths were examined for the three species and of maximum latewood densities for the two Abies species at their upper and lower distribution limits (total 10 chronologies). We developed multiple regression models to reproduce these chronologies from the monthly mean temperature and sum of precipitation. Of the 10 chronologies, growth-climate relations could not be modeled for tree-ring width chronologies of the three species at their lower distribution limits because of low correlation. Annual mean temperature and annual sum of precipitation will increase about 3 °C and 100 mm, respectively, by 2100 in central Japan, according to 18 climatic change scenarios (6 general circulation models ×3 greenhouse gasses emission scenarios). We predicted tree-ring widths and maximum latewood densities by substituting 18 climatic change scenarios into the growth-climate models. Maximum latewood densities and tree-ring widths of A. mariesii at the upper and lower distribution limits increased by 2100. The rates of the increase tended to be greater for scenarios with more greenhouse gas emission. By contrast, maximum latewood densities of A. veitchii and tree-ring widths of B. ermanii were unchanged by 2100, irrespective of the three greenhouse gas emission scenarios. This study showed that radial growth of the three species responds differently to global warming and their responses are predictable by dendrochronological models.


Tree Growth Radial Growth Climatic Change Scenario Principal Component Score Monthly Climatic Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are very grateful to Dr. M. Yokozawa for providing us climatic change scenarios and to Dr. K. Yasue for reading an earlier manuscript. This study was partially supported by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (Nos. 15710007, 19580168).

Supplementary material

10584_2012_547_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Text S1 (DOCX 15.5 kb)
10584_2012_547_MOESM2_ESM.xls (24 kb)
Table S1 (XLS 23 kb)
10584_2012_547_MOESM3_ESM.xls (28 kb)
Table S2 (XLS 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain ScienceShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Science and TechnologyShinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan

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