Tree growth response to ENSO in Durango, Mexico
The dynamics of forest ecosystems worldwide have been driven largely by climatic teleconnections. El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the strongest interannual variation of the Earth’s climate, affecting the regional climatic regime. These teleconnections may impact plant phenology, growth rate, forest extent, and other gradual changes in forest ecosystems. The objective of this study was to investigate how Pinus cooperi populations face the influence of ENSO and regional microclimates in five ecozones in northwestern Mexico. Using standard dendrochronological techniques, tree-ring chronologies (TRI) were generated. TRI, ENSO, and climate relationships were correlated from 1950–2010. Additionally, multiple regressions were conducted in order to detect those ENSO months with direct relations in TRI (p < 0.1). The five chronologies showed similar trends during the period they overlapped, indicating that the P. cooperi populations shared an interannual growth variation. In general, ENSO index showed correspondences with tree-ring growth in synchronous periods. We concluded that ENSO had connectivity with regional climate in northern Mexico and radial growth of P. cooperi populations has been driven largely by positive ENSO values (El Niño episodes).