, 23:169 | Cite as

The climate sensitivity of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] in the southeastern European Alps

  • Tom LevaničEmail author
  • Jožica Gričar
  • Mary Gagen
  • Risto Jalkanen
  • Neil J. Loader
  • Danny McCarroll
  • Primož Oven
  • Iain Robertson
Original Paper


To investigate the potential of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst) as a palaeoclimate archive in the southeastern European Alps, tree ring chronologies were developed from trees growing at two sites in Slovenia which differed in their ecological and climatological characteristics. Ring width, maximum latewood density, annual height increment and latewood cellulose carbon isotope composition were determined at both sites and the resulting time-series compared with and verified against instrumental climate data for their common period (AD 1960–AD 2002). Results indicate that ring width sensitivity to summer temperature is very site-dependent, with opposing responses at alpine and lowland sites. Maximum density responds to September temperatures, indicating lignification after cell division has ceased. Stable carbon isotopes have most potential, responding strongly to summer temperature in both alpine and lowland stands. Height increment appears relatively insensitive to climate, and is likely to be dominated by local stand dynamics.


Wood formation Height increment Latewood density Stable carbon isotope Southeastern Alps 



The work was funded by grants from European Union project (Pine: EVK2-CT-2002-00136 and Millennium: 017008). We are grateful to Martin Zupančič and Peter Cunder from the Department of Wood Science and Technology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana; Pekka Närhi and Tarmo Aalto from Metla Rovaniemi research unit for their help in the field and laboratory; Jonathan Woodman-Ralph and Paula Santillo, Swansea University, for their dedication and assistance in sample preparation. We are indebted to the Slovenian Forest Service, regional units Bled and Kranj, for enabling us to complete the experimental work in the field. N.J. Loader acknowledges support from the UK NERC NE/C511805/1 and NE/B501504/1. T. Levanič acknowledges travel grant from British Council Partnership in Science Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Levanič
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jožica Gričar
    • 1
  • Mary Gagen
    • 3
  • Risto Jalkanen
    • 2
  • Neil J. Loader
    • 3
  • Danny McCarroll
    • 3
  • Primož Oven
    • 4
  • Iain Robertson
    • 3
  1. 1.Slovenian Forestry InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Metla Rovaniemi Research UnitRovaniemiFinland
  3. 3.Department of GeographySwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  4. 4.Department of Wood Science and Technology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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