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Exploration of the Climate Sensitivity of Xylem Parenchyma in Pinus sylvestris L. in the Forest-steppe of Southern Siberia

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The forest-steppe ecotone in southern Siberia is the natural transition zone from the dry steppe in the south to the wetter taiga in the north, where tree growth is increasingly limited due to drought. Within this zone, tree growth limitation is expected to intensify due to ongoing climate changes, reducing forest productivity, affecting tree physiological processes and increasing tree mortality, with potential implications for the regional and global carbon cycle. We explored Pinus sylvestris L. tree ring growth and structure response to climate in southern Siberia. We measured tree-ring width (RW) and xylem parenchyma represented as the percentage of ring surface occupied by parenchyma rays (PERPAR) and the total amount of ray parenchyma per sample width (TOTRAY) within the growth rings for the 1967–2018 period. The results showed an influence of environmental conditions before and during the formation of ray parenchyma, with an independent climate response from the observed in the RW. Therefore, pine xylem parenchyma-based chronologies have potential as a proxy to evaluate climate sensitivity in P. sylvestris. However, the dependence on climate conditions might affect ray parenchyma’s critical role in conifers as P. sylvestris under the current temperature-induced drought trend in the forest-steppe.

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We thank G. von Arx and the anatomy laboratory at WSL for the help while wood sectioning, and the anonymous reviewer for the comments and suggestions, which significantly improved the manuscript.


This work was carried out in the Laboratory for complex studies of forest dynamics of Eurasia of the Siberian Federal University (FSRZ-2020-0014), with financial support from the Russian Science Foundation (Grant 18-14-00072, sampling and measurements) and (Grant 18-74-10048, data analysis).

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Correspondence to M. A. Tabakova.

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Tabakova, M.A., Tabakova, K.A., Khotcinskaia, K.I. et al. Exploration of the Climate Sensitivity of Xylem Parenchyma in Pinus sylvestris L. in the Forest-steppe of Southern Siberia. Russ J Ecol 52, 406–411 (2021).

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