Size- and Age-Related Changes in Tree Structure and Function pp 455-479

Part of the Tree Physiology book series (TREE, volume 4) | Cite as

Age-Dependent Changes in Environmental Influences on Tree Growth and Their Implications for Forest Responses to Climate Change

Chapter

Abstract

Dendrochronology has long used tree-rings to better understand ­climate-tree-growth relationships within a site or across a region, with tree age often considered to contribute unwanted noise to the signal in question. Here I demonstrate that strong climate-tree-growth relationships exist across sites, on a global scale, and that these changes are correlated with variation in average net primary productivity. The age-specific tree-ring data analyses used here show that the sensitivity of tree growth to environmental variability changes predictably with tree age. Young trees were found to be particularly sensitive to each of the environmental factors investigated. These results are discussed in the context of climate change and established changes in tree morphology and physiological function with tree age or size. I argue that explicitly treating tree or forest age can yield tangible improvements in the projection of terrestrial carbon sink responses to climate change by increasing the accuracy with which forest to non-forest ecosystem boundaries can be projected.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wood Science and EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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