, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 77-89

A dendrochronological analysis of Pinus pinea L. on the Italian mid-Tyrrhenian coast

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Abstract

In order to assess the response of the radial growth of Pinus pinea L. to climatic variability in Central Italy, dendrochronological and dendroclimatological analyses were carried out on five different populations scattered along the Tyrrhenian coasts of the peninsula. The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the ecological demands of this species, particularly in the study area.

For each site total ring, early-, and late-wood width chronologies were developed.

Multidimensional analyses were performed for the three tree-ring datasets in order to analyze the relations between sites chronologies. Both Principal Component Analyses and hierarchical classifications highlighted an important difference of one site in respect to the other, probably due to site characteristics.

Correlation functions were performed to infer the main climatic factors controlling the radial growth of the species. For a comparative study, we limited our attention to the common interval 1926–2003 (78 years) in which the response of the tree-ring chronologies to climate at both local and regional scale was investigated.

Positive moisture balance in the late spring-summer period of the year of growth is the climatic driver of P. pinea radial growth in the study area. Moreover, this study shows how low summer temperatures strongly favor the radial growth of the species.