, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 715–729 | Cite as

Instability of climate signal in tree-ring width in Mediterranean mountains: a multi-species analysis

  • F. Lebourgeois
  • P. Mérian
  • F. Courdier
  • J. Ladier
  • P. Dreyfus
Original Paper


Temporal instability of climate signal in tree-ring width of the five dominant species (Pinus nigra, P. sylvestris, P. uncinata, Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica) growing under Mediterranean mountainous climate was studied over the last century (1910–2004). To disentangle the tree–climate–site complex, the effects of both soil water availability (SWA) (dry, mesic and humid sites) and altitude (from 430 to 1,690 m) were investigated on the response patterns. Responses to climate were analysed using bootstrapped correlation coefficients from 17 ring-width chronologies built from 293 trees sampled in 64 stands in South-Eastern France. Temporal analyses were performed considering forty-six 50-years intervals (from 1910–1959 to 1955–2004). May–June drought was the primary limiting factor. For P. sylvestris, summer precipitation also played a key role. F. sylvatica was the less responding species with no clear common pattern. Low SWA led to an increasing correlation with precipitation in May for P. nigra and A. alba. Precipitation from May to August prevailed on the driest conditions for P. sylvestris. Correlation analyses suggested that warm autumn or winter enhanced growth, except for F. sylvatica. For P. nigra, the importance of April temperature increased with increasing altitude. Temporal analyses revealed a stability of sensitivity for the highest contexts (P. uncinata and F. sylvatica). At lower altitudes, the correlation with minimum temperature in April increased while temperature more often exceeded the threshold of 0°C over the last decades. For precipitation, a decrease in the strength of correlation was observed without close relationships with local xericity.


Climate change Dendroecology Moving correlations Divergence Pinus Abies Fagus 



We would like to express our gratitude to the persons who contributed to this project and more particularly to a technical team of INRA-URFM (Avignon) led by Nicolas Mariotte, for stand measurements, tree coring and soil descriptions. We also thank Romain Vepierre for his helpful technical assistance during the tree-ring width measurements, and Vincent Perez for the map presented in the Figure 1. Thanks are also due to the Research and Development team, the Agencies and the local officers of the French National Forest Service (ONF) for help in choosing the stands and for allowing us to core the trees. This study was funded by the French Public Interest Group on Forest Ecosystems (GIP ECOFOR).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2011_638_MOESM1_ESM.eps (1.2 mb)
Online Resource 1 Comparison of monthly climatic data extracted from the high-resolution European grids (15x15 km) (Tyndall) for precipitation in May (mm) and minimum temperature in April (Tmin °C). Ty(1) = Tyndall data extracted near Ventoux (see Figure 1 for location); Ty(2) = Moustier; Ty(3) = Saint-Auban; Ty(4) = Comps-sur-Artuby (EPS 1,242 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Lebourgeois
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Mérian
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Courdier
    • 3
  • J. Ladier
    • 4
  • P. Dreyfus
    • 3
  1. 1.AgroParisTech, UMR1092, Laboratoire d’Étude des Ressources Forêt Bois (LERFoB), ENGREFNancyFrance
  2. 2.INRA, UMR1092, Laboratoire d’Étude des Ressources Forêt Bois (LERFoB), Centre Inra de NancyChampenouxFrance
  3. 3.INRA, UR629 URFM, Écologie des Forêts Méditerranéennes, Site AgroparcAvignon Cedex 9France
  4. 4.Office National des Forêts, Département Recherche et Développement, ActiplusManosqueFrance

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