, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 349-354
Date: 14 Feb 2014

Altitudinal differences in bud burst and onset and cessation of cambial activity of four subalpine tree species

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Abstract

This study investigated bud burst and onset and cessation of radial growth (i.e., secondary xylem cell production by cambium) along an altitudinal gradient (1,600–2,800 m a.s.l.) in central Japan, to examine whether timing of the three phenological events are controlled by thermal conditions alone, irrespective of altitude. Measurement was done at biweekly intervals during 3 years (2006–2008) for four subalpine tree species at their upper and lower distribution limits, except for bud burst in 2006. Although bud burst and onset of radial growth were later at higher altitudes in the combined data of the four species, cessation of radial growth occurred in mid-August, irrespective of altitude. Coefficients of variation of timing of the phenological events decreased in the order bud burst, onset of radial growth, and cessation of radial growth in combined data of the four species. Growing degree days (GDD) for bud burst did not differ greatly along the altitudinal gradient for each species. However, GDD for the onset of radial growth was lower at higher altitude. This study suggests that the effects of thermal conditions on the phenological events along the altitudinal gradient might decrease in the order bud burst, onset of radial growth and cessation of radial growth. Probably not only temperature, but also other factors such as day length, may affect onset and cessation of radial growth. However, further research is necessary to examine the altitudinal differences in timing of the phenological events more accurately, by measurements at shorter time intervals than the biweekly intervals of this study.