Seasonal precipitation and continentality drive bimodal growth in Mediterranean forests

Thumbnail Image
Valeriano, Cristina
Gutiérrez, Emilia
Colangelo, Michele
Gazol, Antonio
Sánchez-Salguero, Raúl
Tumajer, Jan
Shishov, Vladimir
Bonet Lledos, José AntonioBonet Lledos, José Antonio - ORCID ID
Martínez de Aragón, Juan
Ibáñez, Ricardo
Other authors
cc-by-nc-nd (c) Valeriano et al., 2023
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Tree phenology is sensitive to climate warming and changes in seasonal precipitation. Long xylogenesis records are scarce, thus limiting our ability to analyse how radial growth responds to climate variability. Alternatively, process-based growth models can be used to simulate intra-annual growth dynamics and to better understand why growth bimodality varies along temperature and precipitation gradients. We used the Vaganov-Shashkin (VS) growth model to analyse the main climatic drivers of growth bimodality in eight trees and shrubs conifers (four pines and four junipers) across Spain. We selected eleven sites with different continentality degree and spring/autumn precipitation ratios since we expected to find pronounced bimodal growth in less continental sites with spring and autumn precipitation peaks. The VS model successfully simulated annual growth rates at all sites as a function of daily temperature and soil moisture data. Bimodal growth patterns clustered into less continental sites showing low spring/autumn precipitation ratios. This finding agrees with observed climate-growth associations showing that growth was enhanced by wet-cool winter-to-spring conditions, but also by wet autumn conditions in the most bimodal sites. We observed a stronger growth bimodality in pines compared to junipers. We discuss the spatial variability of climate drivers in bimodality growth pattern and how increasing continentality and shifts in seasonal precipitation could affect growth patterns. Bimodality could be an advantageous response to overcome summer drought in Mediterranean forests. The ability of some species to reactivate growth during autumn might determine their capacity to withstand increasing summer aridity.
Journal or Serie
Dendrochronologia, 2023, vol. 78, núm. 126057, p. 1-11