To anticipate European climate scenarios for the end of the century, it is explored the climate gradient within the REINFFORCE (RÉseau INFrastructure de recherche pour le suivi et l’adaptation des FORêts au Changement climatiquE) arboreta network, established in 38 sites between latitudes 37° and 57°, where 33 tree species are represented. It aims at determining which climatic variables best explain their survival and growth, and identifying those species that are more tolerant of climate variation and those of which the growth and survival future climate might constrain. It used empirical models to determine the best climatic predictor variables that explain tree survival and growth. Precipitation-transfer distance was most important for the survival of broadleaved species, whereas growing-season-degree days best explained conifer-tree survival. Growth (annual height increment) was mainly explained by a derived annual dryness index (ADI) for both conifers and broadleaved trees.
Species that showed the greatest variation in survival and growth in response to climatic variation included Betula pendula Roth, Pinus elliottii Engelm., and Thuja plicata Donn ex D.Don, and those that were least affected included Quercus shumardii Buckland and Pinus nigra J.F.Arnold. It was also demonstrated that provenance differences were significant for Pinus pinea L., Quercus robur L., and Ceratonia siliqua L.
Here, it has been demonstrated the usefulness of infrastructures along a climatic gradient like REINFFORCE to determine major tendencies of tree species responding to climate changes.
Authors: Henrique António Correia; Helena Maria Almeida; Manuela Branco; Margarida Tomé; Rebeca Cordero Montoya; Luisa Di Lucchio; Alejandro Cantero; Julio Casero; Cristina Prieto; Felipe Bravo; Nahia Gartzia; Ander Arias; Richard Jinks; Eric Paillassa; Patrick Pastuszka; María José Rozados Lorenzo; Javier Francisco Silva Pando; María Carmen Traver; Silvia Zabalza; Carina Nóbrega; Miguel Ferreira; Christophe Orazio