Montane longleaf pine tree-ring chronologies exhibit fidelity to summer soil-moisture conditions. Multi-century climate reconstructions using longleaf pine can provide insights into the natural range of moisture variability.
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) ring width is associated with temperature and precipitation throughout its range, yet intrasite comparisons of climate and ring growth are limited and have not examined interior (i.e., montane vs. piedmont) populations. Here, we investigated remnant stands of montane and piedmont longleaf pine in central North Carolina and compared their sensitivity to summer climatic variables during 1935–2015. Summer precipitation and PDSI were better associated with tree-ring chronologies developed from latewood growth from both the montane (r = 0.429 PDSI, r = 0.563 precipitation) and piedmont (r = 0.252, r = 0.441) chronologies while correlations with temperature variables were either weak (r = − 0.249 maximum temperature montane, r = − 0.229 piedmont) or not significant. We examined longleaf pine latewood sensitivity to late-summer (July–September) climate conditions, drought detection, and differences in radial growth during drought and non-drought periods and found greater sensitivity of the montane chronology to these metrics. Specifically, the montane chronology was more sensitive to drought detection identifying all 11 droughts that occurred during the 81-year study period, while the piedmont chronology identified only 6 of the 11. Further, while significant differences in radial growth existed between drought and non-drought years for both chronologies, the montane chronology exhibited considerably greater growth range between these favorable and unfavorable periods. These results indicate the use of montane longleaf pine is preferable when reconstructing precipitation variability and when coupled with remnant stump data provide an opportunity to reconstruct summer climate variability.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bhuta AA, Kennedy LM, Pederson N (2009) Climate-radial growth relationships of northern latitudinal range margin longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Mill.) in the Atlantic coastal plain of southeastern Virginia. Tree-Ring Res 65(2):105–115
Bolstad PV, Swift L, Collins F, Régnière J (1998) Measured and predicted air temperatures at basin to regional scales in the southern Appalachian mountains. Agric For Meteorol 91(3–4):161–176
Carter R, Floyd R (2013) Landscape scale ecosystems of the Pine Mountain Range, Georgia. Castanea 78:231–255
Cipollini ML, Culberson J, Strippelhoff C, Baldvins T, Miller K (2012) Herbaceous plants and grasses in a mountain longleaf pine forest undergoing restoration: a survey and comparative study. Southeast Nat 11:637–668
Cook ER (1985) A time series analysis approach to tree ring standardization. Dissertation, University of Arizona
Countryman CM (1978) Radiation: heat—its role in wildland fire, Part 4. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Berkeley
Devall M, Grender J, Koretz J (1991) Dendroecological analysis of a longleaf pine Pinus palustris forest in Mississippi. Vegetatio 93:1–8
Fekedulegn D, Hicks RR, Colbert JJ (2003) Influence of topographic aspect, precipitation and drought on radial growth of four major tree species in an Appalachian watershed. For Ecol Manage 177(1–3):409–425
Foster TE, Brooks JR (2001) Long-term trends in growth of Pinus palustris and Pinus elliottii along a hydrological gradient in central Florida. Can J For Res 31:1661–1670
Guay R (2012) WinDENDRO 2012: user’s guide. Regent Instruments. Inc., Quebec
Guttman NB, Quayle RG (1996) A historical perspective of US climate divisions. Bull Am Meteor Soc 77(2):293–304
Hammond DH, Varner JM, Fan Z, Kush JS (2016) Long-term stand dynamics of old-growth mountain longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) woodlands. Forest Ecol Manage 364:154–164
Henderson JP, Grissino-Mayer HD (2009) Climate–tree growth relationships of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) in the Southeastern Coastal Plain, USA. Dendrochronologia 27:31–43
Holland PG, Steyn DG (1975) Vegetational responses to latitudinal variations in slope angle and aspect. J Biogeogr 2(3):179–183
Holmes RL (1983) Program COFECHA user’s manual. laboratory of tree-ring research. The University of Arizona, Tucson
Keim BD, Wilson AM, Wake CP, Huntington TG (2003) Are there spurious temperature trends in the United States Climate Division database? Geophys Res Lett 30(7):1404
Keim BD, Fischer MR, Wilson AM (2005) Are there spurious precipitation trends in the United States Climate Division database? Geophys Res Lett 32(4):L04702
Knapp PA, Maxwell JT, Soulé PT (2016) Tropical cyclone rainfall variability in coastal North Carolina derived from longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.): AD 1771–2014. Clim Change 135:311–323
Leonelli G, Pelfini M, Battipaglia G, Cherubini P (2009) Site-aspect influence on climate sensitivity over time of a high-altitude Pinus cembra tree-ring network. Clim change 96(1–2):185–201
Maceina EC, Kush JS, Meldahl RS (2000) Vegetational survey of a montane longleaf pine community at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Castanea 65(2):147–154
McIntyre KR, Guldin JM, Ettel T, Ware C, Jones K (2018) Restoration of longleaf pine in the southern United States: a status report. In: Kirschman JE, comp. Proceedings of the 19th biennial southern silvicultural research conference; 2017 March 14–16; Blacksburg. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-234. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station, pp 297–302
Meldahl RS, Pederson N, Kush JS, Varner JM (1999) Dendrochronological investigations of climate and competitive effects on longleaf pine growth. In: Wimmer R, Vetter RE (eds) Tree ring analysis: biological, methodological and environmental aspects. CABI Publishing, Oxon, pp 265–285
Montpellier EE, Soulé PT, Knapp PA, Shelly JS (2018) Divergent growth rates of alpine larch trees (Larix lyallii Parl.) in response to microenvironmental variability. Arctic Antarct Alpine Res 50(1):e1415626
Noss RF, Platt WJ, Sorrie BA, Weakley AS, Means DB, Costanza J, Peet RK (2015) How global biodiversity hotspots may go unrecognized: lessons from the North American Coastal Plain. Divers Distrib 21:236–244
Oberhuber W (2004) Influence of climate on radial growth of Pinus cembra within the alpine timberline ecotone. Tree Physiol 24(3):291–301
Outcault KW, Sheffield RM (1996) The longleaf pine forest: trends and current conditions. Resource Bulletin SRS-9. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville
Patterson TW, Knapp PA (2016) Observations on a rare old-growth montane longleaf pine forest in Central North Carolina. Nat Areas J 36:153–161
Patterson TW, Cummings LW, Knapp PA (2016) Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) morphology and climate/growth responses along a physiographic gradient in North Carolina. Prof Geogr 68:38–248
Pederson N, Varner JM III, Palik BJ (2008) Canopy disturbance and tree recruitment over two centuries in a managed longleaf pine landscape. For Ecol Manage 254:85–95
Peet RK (2007) Ecological classification of longleaf pine woodlands. In: The longleaf pine ecosystem. Springer, New York, pp 51–93
Poesen J, Lavee H (1994) Rock fragments in top soils: significance and processes. Catena 23(1–2):1–28
Shapland TM, Snyder RL, Smart DR, Williams LE (2012) Estimation of actual evapotranspiration in winegrape vineyards located on hillside terrain using surface renewal analysis. Irrig Sci 30:471–484
Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service (2018) Web soil survey. https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm. Accessed 15 Aug 2018
Sorrie BA, Weakley AS (2006) Conservation of endangered Pinus palustris ecosystem based on Coastal Plain centers of plant endemism. Appl Veg Sci 9:59–66
Stokes MA, Smiley TL (1996) An introduction to tree-ring dating. University of Arizona Press, Tucison
Stokes TA, Samuelson LJ, Kush JS, Farris MG, Gilbert JC (2010) Structure and diversity of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) forest communities in the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, northeastern Alabama. Nat Areas J 30:211–225
van de Gevel SL, Hart JL, Grissino-Mayer HD, Robinson KW (2009) Tree-ring dating of old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) logs from an exposed timber crib dam, Hope Mills, North Carolina, USA. Tree-Ring Res 65(1):69–80
Varner MJ, Kush JS, Meldahl RS (2003) Structure of old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) forests in the mountains of Alabama. Castanea 68:211–221
Vicente-Serrano SM, Beguería S, López-Moreno JI (2010) A multiscalar drought index sensitive to global warming: the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index. J Clim 23(7):1696–1718
Womack B, Carter R (2011) Landscape-scale forest community classification in the Horseblock Mountain region of the Talladega National Forest, Alabama. Nat Areas J 31:500–513
We thank Keith Watkins and Andrew Matej for their assistance with the collection and processing of the tree-ring data. We also thank Nell Allen, Boon Chesson, and Selima Sultana for their field assistance and insights. Additionally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments on how to improve the manuscript.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Communicated by van der Maaten.
About this article
Cite this article
Mitchell, T.J., Patterson, T.W. & Knapp, P.A. Comparison of climate–growth responses of montane and piedmont longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) chronologies in North Carolina. Trees 33, 615–620 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-019-01823-8
- Longleaf pine
- Climate–growth responses
- Montane populations
- North Carolina