Photosynthesis, temperature and radial growth of Scots pine in northern Finland: identifying the influential time intervals
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We analyzed the statistical dependence between temperature, the state of functional substances (S), estimated photosynthetic production and the radial growth of Scots pine in northern Finland. Annual sums of these variables were calculated for intervals consisting of consecutive calendar days. For daily mean temperature, all possible intervals between 1 April of the previous year and 31 August of the current year were tested. For S and the daily photosynthetic production, the tested range included days from April to October of the previous year and from April to August of the current year. These sums were compared with tree-ring indices using the Pearson correlation coefficient over the period 1906–2002. The highest correlations (r = 0.64) between daily mean temperature and growth indices were obtained for current-year periods starting 22 June and ending 28 July. For S, a temperature-derived variable describing the instantaneous photosynthetic capacity of Scots pine, the respective interval was from 5 July to 31 July (r = 0.63). The daily photosynthetic production of Scots pine was estimated for 1906–2002 using the PhenPhoto model. The interval during which the estimated daily photosynthetic production of Scots pine produced the highest correlation with growth indices (r = 0.56) was from 5 July to 27 July. Previous-year values of each variable were also significantly correlated to annual growth indices. The intervals with highest correlations were in May–June for each variable, and the correlations were rather low—between 0.3 and 0.4. We also tested selection criteria based on intervals that do not consist of consecutive calendar days, but results did not show notable improvements over the customarily used continuous intervals.