Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 136, Issue 1–2, pp 639–650 | Cite as

Scots pine radial growth response to climate and future projections at peat and mineral soils in the boreo-nemoral zone

  • Egidijus RimkusEmail author
  • Johannes Edvardsson
  • Justas Kažys
  • Rūtilė Pukienė
  • Simona Lukošiūnaitė
  • Rita Linkevičienė
  • Christophe Corona
  • Markus Stoffel
Original Paper


This paper aims to study what influence different meteorological parameters have on the radial tree growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in peat and mineral soils, as well as to make predictions of radial tree growth responses to changing climate based on various future climate projections. Four Lithuanian peatland complexes representing different geographical settings and hydrological conditions were studied. From each study site, two tree-ring width (TRW) series were derived, one from trees growing on peat soil and one from trees on mineral soil at the periphery of the peatland. The annual growth rings from trees grown on mineral soils, in different geographical regions in Lithuania, show synchronicity, whereas the correlation between the TRW series from different peatland sites was weak to absent. The main factor that explains radial tree growth at the mineral-soil sites was air temperature during early spring (February–March), which influences the onset and duration of the growing season. However, variations in radial tree growth on the peatland sites were also attributed to lagged hydrological responses relating to precipitation and evaporation over several years. Our future projections show that growth conditions for pine trees on mineral soils will improve in the twenty-first century in Lithuania following an increase of air temperature in early spring. The predictions for the trees growing on peat soils, however, rely on the groundwater-level changes governed by a combination of precipitation and evaporation changes. Towards the end of the twenty-first century, the groundwater level in most Lithuanian peatlands is expected to increase, which most likely will result in harsher growth conditions for the peatland trees. This assumption is, however, open for debate as the peatland trees appear to favour the current warming conditions. It may therefore be too early to precisely predict future growth responses for the peatland trees, but this study is a next step to better understand future climate dynamics and vegetation responses in the Baltic region.


Funding information

This study has been funded by the Lithuanian-Swiss cooperation program to reduce economic and social disparities within the enlarged European Union under the name CLIMPEAT (Climate change in peatlands: Holocene record, recent trends and related impacts on biodiversity and sequestered carbon) project agreement No CH-3-ŠMM-01/05.


  1. Balevičius K. (ed) (1984) Čepkelių rezervatas [Čepkeliai reserve], Mokslas Publishing House Vilnius, pp 1–128 (in Lithuanian)Google Scholar
  2. Belyea LR, Malmer N (2004) Carbon sequestration in peatland: patterns and mechanisms of response to climate change. Glob Chang Biol 10:1043–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boggie R (1972) Effect of water-table height on root development of Pinus contorta on deep peat in Scotland. Oikos 23:304–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bragazza L, Buttler A, Siegenthaler A, Mitchell EA (2009) Plant litter decomposition and nutrient release in peatlands. In: Baird AJ, Belyea LR, Comas X, Reeve AS, Slater LD (eds) Carbon cycling in northern peatlands. American Geophysical Union, pp 99–110Google Scholar
  5. Bräker OU (2002) Measuring and data processing in tree-ring research—a methodological introduction. Dendrochronologia 20:203–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers FM, Booth RK, De Vleeschouwer F, Lamentowicz M, Le Roux G, Mauquoy D, Nichols JE, Van Geel B (2012) Development and refinement of proxy-climate indicators from peats. Quat Int 268:21–33. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cook ER, Holmes RL (1984) Program ARSTAN user manual: laboratory of tree ring research. University of Arizona, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (1990) Methods of dendrochronology, applications in the environmental sciences. Kluwer Academic Publishers, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Cook ER, Krusic PJ (2005) ARSTAN_41: a tree-ring standardization program based on detrending and autoregressive time series modeling, with interactive graphics. Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, New York. Accessed 10 July 2016
  10. Coomes DA, Allen RB (2007) Effects of size, competition and altitude on tree growth. J Ecol 95:1084–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D’Arrigo R, Wilson R, Liepert B, Cherubini P (2007) On the “divergence problem” in northern forests: a review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Glob Planet Chang 60:289–305. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eckstein D, Schweingruber F (2009) Dendrochronologia—a mirror for 25 years of tree-ring research and a sensor for promising topics. Dendrochronologia 27:7–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edvardsson J, Leuschner HH, Linderson H, Linderholm HW, Hammarlund D (2012) South Swedish bog pines as indicators of Mid-Holocene climate variability. Dendrochronologia 30:93–103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edvardsson J, Rimkus E, Corona C, Šimanauskienė R, Kažys J, Stoffel M (2015a) Exploring the impact of regional climate and local hydrology on Pinus sylvestris L. growth variability—a comparison between pine populations growing on peat soils and mineral soils in Lithuania. Plant Soil 392(1–2):345–356. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edvardsson J, Šimanauskienė R, Taminskas J, Baužienė I, Stoffel M (2015b) Increased tree establishment in Lithuanian peat bogs—insights from field and remotely sensed approaches. Sci Total Environ 505:113–120. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edvardsson J, Stoffel M, Corona C, Bragazza L, Leuschner HH, Charman DJ, Helama S (2016) Subfossil peatland trees as proxies for palaeohydrology and climate reconstruction during the Holocene. Earth-Sci Rev 163:118–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Esper J, Büntgen U, Timonen M, Frank DC (2012) Variability and extremes of northern Scandinavian summer temperatures over the past two millennia. Glob Planet Chang 88-89:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fonti P, von Arx G, García-González I, Eilmann B, Sass-Klaassen U, Gärtner H, Eckstein D (2010) Studying global change through investigation of the plastic responses of xylem anatomy in tree rings. New Phytol 185:42–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Franceschini T, Bontemps JD, Perez V, Leban JM (2013) Divergence in latewood density response of Norway spruce to temperature is not resolved by enlarged sets of climatic predictors and their non-linearities. Agric For Meteorol 180:132–141. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Friedman JH (1984) A variable span smoother, Department of Statistics technical report LCS 5. Stanford University, StanfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fritts HC (1976) Tree rings and climate. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. García-Suárez AM, Butler CJ, Baillie MGL (2009) Climate signal in tree-ring chronologies in a temperate climate: a multi-species approach. Dendrochronologia 27:183–198. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gray ST, McCabe GJ (2010) A combined water balance and tree ring approach to understanding the potential hydrologic effects of climate change in the central Rocky Mountain region. Water Resour Res 46:W05513. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grigaravičienė L, Janukonis A, Kunskas R, Liužinas R, Rajeckas R (1995) In: Urbonienė J (ed) Lithuanian peatland cadastre. Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius, pp 1–1282Google Scholar
  25. Heijmans MM, van der Knaap YA, Holmgren M, Limpens J (2013) Persistent versus transient tree encroachment of temperate peat bogs: effects of climate warming and drought events. Glob Chang Biol 19:2240–2250. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Helsel DR, Hirsch RM (1992) Statistical methods in water resources. Elsevier Science Publishers, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  27. Herrero A, Rigiling A, Zamora R (2013) Varying climate sensitivity at the dry distribution edge of Pinus sylvestris and P. Nigra. For Ecol Manag 308:50–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holmes RL (1983) Computer assisted quality control in tree ring dating and measurement. Tree-Ring Bull 43:69–78Google Scholar
  29. Huang JG, Bergeron Y, Berninger F, Zhai L, Tardif JC, Denneler B (2013) Impact of future climate on radial growth of four major boreal tree species in the eastern Canadian boreal forest. PLoS One 8(2):e56758. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kažys J, Rimkus E, Taminskas J, Butkutė S (2015) Hydrothermal effect on groundwater level fluctuations: case studies of Čepkeliai and Rėkyva peatbogs, Lithuania. Geologija. Geografija 1:116–129Google Scholar
  31. Kažys J, Rimkus E, Edvardsson J (2016) The 21st century projections of ground water level and hydrothermal conditions in Lithuanian peatbog ecosystems. Geologija Geografija 2:107–121Google Scholar
  32. Kelly AE, Goulden ML (2008) Rapid shifts in plant distribution with recent climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(33):11823–11826. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kirtman B, Power SB, Adedoyin JA Boer GJ, Bojariu R, Camilloni I, Doblas-Reyes FJ, Fiore AM, Kimoto M, Meehl GA, Prather M, Sarr A, Schär C, Sutton R, van Oldenborgh GJ, Vecchi G, Wang HJ (2013) Near-term climate change: projections and predictability. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner GK, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, pp 953–1028Google Scholar
  34. Loehle C (2009) A mathematical analysis of the divergence problem in dendroclimatology. Clim Chang 98(3):233–285. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martinelli N (2004) Climate from dendrochronology: latest developments and results. Glob Planet Chang 40(1–2):129–139. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maxwell RS, Wixom J, Hessl AE (2011) A comparison of two techniques for measuring and crosMSating tree rings. Dendrochronologia 29:237–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mickevič A, Rimkus E (2013) Dynamics of mean air temperature in Lithuania. Aust Geogr 49(2):114–122. Google Scholar
  38. Pensa M, Salminen H, Jalkanen R (2005) A 250-year-long height-increment chronology for Pinus sylvestris at the northern coniferous timberline: a novel tool for reconstructing past summer temperatures? Dendrochronologia 22:75–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pilcher JR, Hall VA, McCormac FG (1995) Dates of Holocene Icelandic volcanic eruptions from tephra layers in Irish peats. The Holocene 5:103–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ratcliffe JL, Creevy A, Andersen R, Zarov E, Gaffney PP, Taggart MA, Mazei Y, Tsyganov AN, Rowson J, Lapshina ED, Payne RJ (2017) Ecological and environmental transition across the forested-to-open bog ecotone in a west Siberian peatland. Sci Total Environ 607:816–828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rinn F (2003) TSAP-Win user reference manual. Rinntech, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  42. Scharnweber T, Couwenberg J, Heinrich I, Wilmking M (2015) New insights for the interpretation of ancient bog oak chronologies? Reactions of oak (Quercus robur L.) to a sudden peatland rewetting. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 417:534–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schneider L, Smerdon J, Büntgen U, Wilson R, Myglan V, Kirdyanov A, Esper J (2015) Revising midlatitude summer temperatures back to A.D. 600 based on a wood density network. Geophys Res Lett 42(11):4556e4562–4556e4562. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seo JW, Eckstein D, Jalkanen R, Schmitt U (2011) Climatic control of intra- and inter-annual wood-formation dynamics of Scots pine in northern Finland. Environ Exp Bot 72:422–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smiljanić M, Seo JW, Läänelaid A, van der Maaten-Theunissen M, Stajić B, Wilmking M (2014) Peatland pines as a proxy for water table fluctuations: disentangling tree growth, hydrology and possible human influence. Sci Total Environ 500-501:52–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Taylor KE, Stouffer RJ, Meehl GA (2012) An overview of Cmip5 and the experiment design. B Am Meteorol Soc 93:485–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Waddington JM, Morris PJ, Kettridge N, Granath G, Thompson DK, Moore PA (2014) Hydrological feedbacks in northern peatlands. Ecohydrology 8:113–127. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wigley TML, Briffa KR, Jones PD (1984) On the average value of correlated time series, with applications in dendroclimatology and hydrometeorology. J Clim Appl Meteorol 23:201–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wilson R, Anchukaitis KJ, Briffa K, Büntgen U, Cook ER, D’Arrigo RD, Davi N, Esper J, Frank D, Gunnarson B, Hegerl G, Klesse S, Krusic PJ, Linderholm H, Myglan V, Peng Z, Rydval M, Schneider L, Schurer A, Wiles G, Zorita E (2016) Last millennium northern hemisphere summer temperatures from tree rings: part I: the long term context. Quat Sci Rev 134:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yu Z (2006) Power laws governing hydrology and carbon dynamics in northern peatlands. Glob Planet Chang 53:169–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Egidijus Rimkus
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johannes Edvardsson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Justas Kažys
    • 1
  • Rūtilė Pukienė
    • 4
  • Simona Lukošiūnaitė
    • 1
  • Rita Linkevičienė
    • 1
    • 5
  • Christophe Corona
    • 6
  • Markus Stoffel
    • 2
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of GeosciencesVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  2., Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Geology, Quaternary SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.Laboratory of Nuclear Geophysics and RadioecologyNature Research CentreVilniusLithuania
  5. 5.Laboratory of climate and water researchNature Research CentreVilniusLithuania
  6. 6.CNRS, GEOLABUniversité Clermont AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance
  7. 7.Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  8. 8.Department F.A. Forel for Aquatic and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations