New Forests

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 399–414 | Cite as

Interactions between climate, growth and seed production in Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra Arn. ssp. salzmannii) forests in Cuenca Mountains (Spain)

  • M. E. Lucas-Borja
  • G. Vacchiano


Tree growth is regulated by a combination of exogenous and endogenous factors. Such factors also interact with each other, complicating the understanding of causal links. IN particular, resource allocation is sensitive to reproductive investment, especially in masting species, which in turn is regulated by climatic variables. Both resource allocation and seed production patterns are also sensitive to tree age. This study aims to (1) evaluate the effects of tree age and local and regional climate on tree ring width and seed production by Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra Arn. ssp. salzmannii) forest in Cuenca Mountains (Spain), and (2) assess the relationship between seed production and secondary growth of Spanish black pine. Seed fall was estimated using 60 rectangular seed traps (40 × 50 × 15 cm) from 2000 to 2014, randomly distributed across the study area. Standardized tree-ring chronologies were calculated using a random sample of 106 trees stratified into three age classes (> 80 years; 26–80 years, and ≤ 25 years). Local climate data was obtained from a meteorological station, and regional climate data from the CRU-TS 3.1 dataset. Average seed production ranged over time from 2 to 189 seeds m−2 (coefficient of variation = 157%). We identified four masting years (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2014) using a classification based on percentile seed production. Seed production was regulated by climate of the previous 2–3 years, while tree growth responded to precipitation and temperature in the previous and current year. Independent of climate, high seed production had a negative effect on tree ring width and weakened climate growth relationships, indicating resource depletion. Tree age modulated climate sensitivity, increasing correlations between climate and tree-ring index in older trees. P. nigra has been showed to be a climate sensitive species with a bimodal masting behaviour, which should be taking into account for management purposes and silvicultural guidelines under climate change scenarios.


Masting Climate change Seed production Ring width Natural regeneration 



This work was supported by Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM) [POII10-0112-7316]. Consejería de Agricultura (JCCM) provided the necessary support to carry out the field work. Authors also thanks PROFOUND COST-Action (FP1304).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Technology and Science and GeneticsETSIAM, University of Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (DISAA)University of MilanMilanItaly

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