, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 749-758
Date: 01 Nov 2012

Multiple phenological responses to climate change among 42 plant species in Xi’an, China

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Abstract

Phenological data of 42 woody plants in a temperate deciduous forest from the Chinese Phenological Observation Network (CPON) and the corresponding meteorological data from 1963 to 2011 in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China were collected and analyzed. The first leaf date (FLD), leaf coloring date (LCD) and first flower date (FFD) are revealed as strong biological signals of climatic change. The FLD, LCD and FFD of most species are sensitive to average temperature during a certain period before phenophase onset. Regional precipitation also has a significant impact on phenophases of about half of the species investigated. Affected by climate change, the FLD and FFD of these species have advanced by 5.54 days and 10.20 days on average during 2003–2011 compared with the period 1963–1996, respectively. Meanwhile, the LCD has delayed by 10.59 days, and growing season length has extended 16.13 days. Diverse responses of phenology commonly exist among different species and functional groups during the study period. Especially for FFD, the deviations between the above two periods ranged from −20.68 to −2.79 days; biotic pollination species showed a significantly greater advance than abiotic pollination species. These results were conducive to the understanding of possible changes in both the structure of plant communities and interspecific relationships in the context of climate change.