Plant and Soil

, Volume 392, Issue 1–2, pp 345–356 | Cite as

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

  • Johannes Edvardsson
  • Egidijus Rimkus
  • Christophe Corona
  • Rasa Šimanauskienė
  • Justas Kažys
  • Markus Stoffel
Regular Article



To compare growth variability of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) on different soil types, and to assess the potential of peat-soil pines for climatological and hydrological studies.


We used extensive dendrochronological analyses to investigate temporal and spatial responses of pines growing on peat soils and mineral soils in three regions of Lithuania.


Significant correlations were observed between tree populations growing on similar soil types in different geographical regions, whereas synchronicity was absent between neighbouring stands growing on different soil types. At mineral soils, tree growth was significantly correlated with winter and early summer temperatures, whereas a more complex response was detected in peat-soil trees, presumably reflecting a multi-annual synthesis of moisture variability and changing hydrology. Synchronous long-term peat soil tree-growth variations observed over large parts of the Baltics point to a possible regional hydrological forcing. Our results may therefore improve hydrological reconstructions using living and subfossil peat-soil trees, and could be of prime importance given the major influence peatland water-table fluctuations have on a range of environmental processes.


Results reveal that peat-soil pines are unsuitable for high-frequency climate reconstruction, but demonstrate their potential for the reconstruction of multi-annual to decadal hydrological fluctuations. Mineral-soil pines, by contrast, should be used for temperature reconstructions.


Dendrochronology Meteorological data Hydrology Climate change Regional climate 



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. Kazimieras Dilys, Marija Tamkevičiutė and Sigita Butkutė are thanked for their help during the fieldworks and the anonymous referees for their suggestions for improvements.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Edvardsson
    • 1
  • Egidijus Rimkus
    • 2
  • Christophe Corona
    • 3
  • Rasa Šimanauskienė
    • 4
  • Justas Kažys
    • 2
  • Markus Stoffel
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1., Institute of Geological SciencesUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Hydrology and Climatology, Faculty of Natural SciencesVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  3. 3.GEOLAB, UMR6042 CNRS and Blaise Pascal UniversityClermont-Ferrand Cedex 2France
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Land Management, Faculty of Natural SciencesVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  5. 5.Climatic Change and Climate Impacts, Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of GenevaCarouge-GenevaSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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