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INtra-seasonal Tree growth along Elevational GRAdients in the European ALps (INTEGRAL)

English title INtra-seasonal Tree growth along Elevational GRAdients in the European ALps (INTEGRAL)
Applicant Frank David Charles
Number 121859
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.03.2009 - 31.08.2012
Approved amount 184'725.00
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Keywords (11)

cambial growth model; climate change impacts; dendroclimatology; forest productivity; global warming; intra-annual growth variatins; Swiss Alps; temperature gradient; xylogenesis; cambial growth; intra-annual growth variations

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
While considerable uncertainties are associated with the understanding of the earth's climate system, General Circulation Models (GCMs) commonly predict future widespread temperature increases into the next century. Impacts of the recent warming have been recognized for both abiotic (e.g., permafrost melting) and biotic (e.g., spring greening) systems. Forests represent an important biosphere component, as they contain about 90% of the living terrestrial biomass, significantly regulate the land-atmosphere flux of water vapor, and are of considerable economic importance to society. However, even without consideration of feedbacks, warming impacts on ecosystem functioning in general and forests in particular, are difficult to predict due to their great complexity.In this project we will study the influence of a warming climate on tree-growth. To reach this objective, we have selected a study location (Lötschental Valley in the Central Swiss Alps) that offers a 1000 meter elevational gradient within a confined geographical region. The Lötschental offers both north and south facing slopes that are forested from the valley bottom (~1300 m asl) to treeline (~2300 m asl) with inter-mixed evergreen spruce (Picea abies) and deciduous larch (Larix decidua) trees. The temperature change along this transect (~ 4°C) roughly corresponds with that projected for the year 2100 based on GCMs. As effects from warming may involve non-linear and subtle shifts in growing season length and cellular activity, significant emphasis will be placed on temporally highly-resolved (intra-seasonal) field measurements including: i) weekly collection of microcore samples, ii) hourly dendrometer measurements, iii) weekly phenological observations, andiv) in-situ meteorological measurements.Data will provide "snapshots" of how trees grow and form annual rings at the cellular level and allow us to understand exactly how long cells spend in their various life stages. Details about the timing and duration of tracheid growth for different growing seasons (2007 - 2010) and as a function of elevation, will allow determination of climatic influences upon growing season length and growth rates for two major tree species. Our results will be used to help calibrate models of tree growth and will allow better prediction of how trees will respond to the future projected warming.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Pattern of xylem phenology in conifers of cold ecosystems at the Northern Hemisphere
Rossi Sergio, Anfodillo Tommaso, Čufar Katarina, Cuny Henri E., Deslauriers Annie, Fonti Patrick, Frank David, Gričar Jožica, Gruber Andreas, Huang Jian-Guo, Jyske Tuula, Kašpar Jakub, King Gregory, Krause Cornelia, Liang Eryuan, Mäkinen Harri, Morin Hubert, Nöjd Pekka, Oberhuber Walter, Prislan Peter, Rathgeber Cyrille B.K., Saracino Antonio, Swidrak Irene, Treml Václav (2016), Pattern of xylem phenology in conifers of cold ecosystems at the Northern Hemisphere, in Global Change Biology, 22(11), 3804-3813.
Tracheid anatomical responses to climate in a forest-steppe in Southern Siberia
Fonti Patrick, Babushkina Elena A (2016), Tracheid anatomical responses to climate in a forest-steppe in Southern Siberia, in Dendrochronologia, 39, 32-41.
Woody biomass production lags stem-girth increase by over one month in coniferous forests
Cuny Henri E., Rathgeber Cyrille B. K., Frank David, Fonti Patrick, Mäkinen Harri, Prislan Peter, Rossi Sergio, del Castillo Edurne Martinez, Campelo Filipe, Vavrčík Hanuš, Camarero Jesus Julio, Bryukhanova Marina V., Jyske Tuula, Gričar Jožica, Gryc Vladimír, De Luis Martin, Vieira Joana, Čufar Katarina, Kirdyanov Alexander V., Oberhuber Walter, Treml Vaclav, Huang Jian-Guo, Li Xiaoxia, Swidrak Irene, et al. (2015), Woody biomass production lags stem-girth increase by over one month in coniferous forests, in Nature Plants, 1(11), 15160-15160.
Seasonal transfer of oxygen isotopes from precipitation and soil to the tree ring: source water versus needle water enrichment
Treydte Kerstin, Boda Sonja, Graf Pannatier Elisabeth, Fonti Patrick, Frank David, Ullrich Bastian, Saurer Matthias, Siegwolf Rolf, Battipaglia Giovanna, Werner Willy, Gessler Arthur (2014), Seasonal transfer of oxygen isotopes from precipitation and soil to the tree ring: source water versus needle water enrichment, in New Phytologist, 202(3), 772-783.
Tree growth response along an elevational gradient: climate or genetics?
King Gregory M., Gugerli Felix, Fonti Patrick, Frank David C. (2013), Tree growth response along an elevational gradient: climate or genetics?, in Oecologia, 173(4), 1587-1600.
A meta-analysis of cambium phenology and growth: linear and non-linear patterns in conifers of the northern hemisphere
Rossi Sergio, Anfodillo Tommaso, Čufar Katarina, Cuny Henri E., Deslauriers Annie, Fonti Patrick, Frank David, Gričar Jožica, Gruber Andreas, King Gregory M., Krause Cornelia, Morin Hubert, Oberhuber Walter, Prislan Peter, Rathgeber Cyrille B. K. (2013), A meta-analysis of cambium phenology and growth: linear and non-linear patterns in conifers of the northern hemisphere, in Annals of Botany, 112(9), 1911-1920.
Intra-annual dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in the cambium of mature conifer trees reflects radial growth demands
Simard S., Giovannelli A., Treydte K., Traversi M. L., King G. M., Frank D., Fonti P. (2013), Intra-annual dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in the cambium of mature conifer trees reflects radial growth demands, in Tree Physiology, 33(9), 913-923.
Xylem plasticity allows rapid hydraulic adjustment to annual climatic variability
Bryukhanova Marina, Fonti Patrick (2013), Xylem plasticity allows rapid hydraulic adjustment to annual climatic variability, in Trees, 27(3), 485-496.
Wood anatomical responses of oak saplings exposed to air warming and soil droughtWood anatomical responses to warming and drought
Fonti P., Heller O., Cherubini P., Rigling A., Arend M. (2013), Wood anatomical responses of oak saplings exposed to air warming and soil droughtWood anatomical responses to warming and drought, in Plant Biology, 15, 210-219.
Expeditious building of ring-porous earlywood vessel chronologies without loosing signal information
Fonti Patrick, Eilmann Britta, García-González Ignacio, von Arx Georg (2009), Expeditious building of ring-porous earlywood vessel chronologies without loosing signal information, in Trees, 23(3), 665-671.
Exploring the link between xylem cell anatomy and inter-annual climatic variability.
Bryukhanova M, Fonti P, Exploring the link between xylem cell anatomy and inter-annual climatic variability., in Trees.
Climatic drivers of hourly to yearly tree radius variations along a 6° C natural warming gradient
King G., Fonti P., Nievergelt D., Büntgen U., Frank D., Climatic drivers of hourly to yearly tree radius variations along a 6° C natural warming gradient, in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 168, 36-46.
Orbital forcing of tree-ring data
Esper J., Frank D.C., Timonen M., Zorita E., Wilson R.J.S., Luterbacher J., Holzkämper S., Fischer N., Wagner S., Nievergelt D., Orbital forcing of tree-ring data, in Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1589, 1-5.
Timing and duration of European larch growing season along altitudinal gradients in the Swiss Alps
Moser L, Fonti P, Buntgen U, Esper J, Luterbacher J, Franzen J, Frank D, Timing and duration of European larch growing season along altitudinal gradients in the Swiss Alps, in TREE PHYSIOLOGY, 30(2), 225-233.
Tree-ring reconstructed summer temperatures from northwestern North America during the last nine centuries
Anchukaitis K.J., D'Arrigo R.D., Andreu-Hayles L., Frank D., Verstege A., Curtis A., Buckley B.M., Jacoby G.C., Cook E.R., Tree-ring reconstructed summer temperatures from northwestern North America during the last nine centuries, in Journal of Climate, (2012).
Varying boreal forest response to Arctic environmental change at the Firth River, Alaska
Andreu-Hayles L., D’Arrigo R., Anchukaitis K.J., Beck P.S.A., Frank D., Goetz S., Varying boreal forest response to Arctic environmental change at the Firth River, Alaska, in Environmental Research Letters, 6(4), 045503-045503.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
World Dendro Talk given at a conference Temperature-induced differences in timingof intra-annual growth of subalpineLarix decidua and Picea abies 17.06.2010 Rovaniemi, Finland Fonti Patrick; Frank David Charles; King Gregory Michael;
EGU Poster Temperature-induced differences in timing of intra-annual growth of subalpine Larix decidua and Picea abies 03.05.2010 Vienna, Austria, Austria Fonti Patrick;
TRACE Conference / Xylogensis Workshop Talk given at a conference Intra-annual growth of Larix decidua and Picea abies along an altitudinal gradient in the Lötschental, Switzerland 16.04.2009 Otocek, Slovenia Fonti Patrick; Frank David Charles; King Gregory Michael;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
The Significance of xylem hydraulic plasticity for reconstructing past environments 15.05.2012 Kippel,Lötschental, Switzerland, Switzerland
Euro Dendro 19.09.2011 Engelberg, Switzerland, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Jahrring Wachstum: die versteckte Phenologie Western Switzerland 2010
Talks/events/exhibitions La crescita radiane nellepiante: una fenologia nascosta con potenzialita International 2010
Talks/events/exhibitions WSL Jubileum German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2010
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Altitudinal Transect in Lötschental Webpage Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland International 2009

Awards

Title Year
COST Action Scientific Grant 2010
WorldDendro 2010: Best Poster Presentation 2010

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
130112 Isotope pathway from atmosphere to the tree ring along a humidity gradient in Switzerland 01.09.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160077 Unraveling the influence of climate change on wood formation and resulting tree rings (CLIMWOOD) 01.09.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
150205 Coupling stem water flow and structural carbon allocation in a warming climate: the Lötschental study case (LOTFOR) 01.06.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
131408 Identifying seasonal climatic signals from water conducting cells in tree rings 01.09.2010 International short research visits

Abstract

While considerable uncertainties are associated with the understanding of the earth’s climate system, General Circulation Models (GCMs) commonly predict future widespread temperature increases into the next century (Stott et al. 2006), thereby continuing the warming known from instrumental observations and proxy records (Frank et al. 2007a). Impacts of the recent warming have been recognized for both abiotic (e.g., permafrost melting) and biotic (e.g., spring greening) systems. Forests represent an important biosphere component, as they contain about 90% of the living terrestrial biomass, significantly regulate the land-atmosphere flux of water vapor, and are of considerable economic importance to society. However, even without consideration of feedbacks, warming impacts on ecosystem functioning in general and forests in particular, are difficult to predict due to their great complexity.In the proposed project, we aim to study the influence of a warming climate on tree-growth. To reach this objective, we have selected a study location (Lötschental Valley in the Central Swiss Alps) that offers a 1000 meter elevational gradient within a confined geographical region. The Lötschental offers both north and south facing slopes that are forested from the valley bottom (~1300 m asl) to treeline (~2300 m asl) with inter-mixed evergreen spruce (Picea abies) and deciduous larch (Larix decidua) trees. The temperature change along this transect (~ 4°C) roughly corresponds with that projected for the year 2100 based on GCMs driven by reasonable emission scenarios (IPCC 2007). As effects from warming may involve non-linear and subtle shifts in growing season length and cellular activity, significant emphasis will be placed on temporally highly-resolved (intra-seasonal) field measurements including: i) weekly collection of microcore samples, ii) hourly dendrometer measurements, iii) weekly phenological observations, andiv) in-situ meteorological measurements.Details about the timing and duration of tracheid growth for different growing seasons (2007 - 2010) and as a function of elevation, will allow determination of climatic influences upon growing season length and growth rates. These high-resolution data will be extended by increment cores to retrospectively assess radial growth and density (Frank and Esper 2005a), and wood anatomical characteristics (Fonti et al. 2008c) over the past couple hundred years. As relative growth influences may change over time (e.g., as a function of mean temperature) and are additionally intercorrelated, we propose to use a cambial growth model as an objective framework for investigating climatic forcing (Anchukaitis et al. 2006). In a two-way process, this model will be parameterized/verified by the intra-seasonal measurements, and will then be used to hindcast the growth variations over the past 100+ years. Regionally available long instrumental temperature, precipitation, and radiation series (Auer et al. 2007, Frank et al. 2008b) will be employed for both empirical and modeling assessments. Cambial modeling activities will allow discrimination of the multiple climatic influences that simultaneously drive tree-growth, and in turn will be improved by the intra-annual measurements for improved predictions of future growth with GCM ensembles. The proposed project will, for the first time, integrate intra-annual observations, long-term measurements, and modeling runs of tree growth along an elevational transect, thereby providing new data and insights of species specific responses to temperature change.
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