, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1321-1329
Date: 29 Jul 2009

Response of regional tree-line forests to climate change: evidence from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau

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Tree-ring width and age structure of Juniperus przewalskii (Qilian juniper) forests were analyzed for four tree-line sites in Qilian and Anyemaqen Mountains, northeastern Tibetan Plateau, to investigate their relationships to climate change. Tree-line growth on Qilian Mountain was mainly limited by temperature at the low-frequency band. However, tree-line growth in the Anyemaqen Mountain was highly correlated with the current growing season temperature at the high-frequency band, and with the previous growing season precipitation at the low-frequency band. A temperature-stressed growth pattern at colder western sites and a moisture-stressed growth pattern at the warm, drier eastern tree-line sites were detected. The number of surviving trees in the tree-line ecotone was not clearly correlated with temperature before the 1900s. An unprecedented rise in the number of trees coincided well with the rapid global warming after the 1900s.

Communicated by R. Matyssek.