Ecosystems

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 1536–1549

Increased Summer Temperatures Reduce the Growth and Regeneration of Larix sibirica in Southern Boreal Forests of Eastern Kazakhstan

  • Choimaa Dulamsuren
  • Tobias Wommelsdorf
  • Fengjun Zhao
  • Yaoqin Xue
  • Bulat Z. Zhumadilov
  • Christoph Leuschner
  • Markus Hauck
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10021-013-9700-1

Cite this article as:
Dulamsuren, C., Wommelsdorf, T., Zhao, F. et al. Ecosystems (2013) 16: 1536. doi:10.1007/s10021-013-9700-1

Abstract

The larch forests at the southern limit of the Siberian boreal forest in Central Asia have repeatedly experienced strong recent growth declines attributed to decreasing summer precipitation in the course of climate warming. Here, we present evidence from the southernmost Larix sibirica forests in eastern Kazakhstan that these declines are primarily caused by a decrease in effective moisture due to increasing summer temperatures, despite constant annual, and summer precipitation. Tree-ring chronologies (>800 trees) showed a reduction by 50–80% in mean ring width and an increase in the frequency of missing rings since the 1970s. Climate-response analysis revealed a stronger (negative) effect of summer temperature (in particular of the previous year’s June and July temperature) on radial growth than summer precipitation (positive effect). It is assumed that a rise in the atmospheric vapor pressure deficit, which typically increases with temperature, is negatively affecting tree water status and radial growth, either directly or indirectly through reduced soil moisture. Larch rejuvenation ceased in the 1950s, which is partly explained by increasing topsoil desiccation in a warmer climate and a high drought susceptibility of larch germination, as was demonstrated by a germination experiment with variable soil moisture levels. The lack of regeneration and the reduced annual stem increment suggest that sustainable forest management aiming at timber harvesting is no longer feasible in these southern boreal forests. Progressive climate warming is likely to cause a future northward shift of the southern limit of the boreal forest.

Keywords

atmospheric saturation deficit boreal forest climate warming dendrochronology tree-ring analysis forest regeneration 

Supplementary material

10021_2013_9700_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
Supplementary material (DOC 73 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Choimaa Dulamsuren
    • 1
  • Tobias Wommelsdorf
    • 1
  • Fengjun Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yaoqin Xue
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bulat Z. Zhumadilov
    • 4
  • Christoph Leuschner
    • 1
  • Markus Hauck
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Ecology, Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant SciencesGeorg August University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of EcologyCollege of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Life SciencesNorthwest A & F UniversityYanglingChina
  4. 4.Department of Biology and EcologyPavlodar State University named after S. ToraigyrovPavlodarKazakhstan

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