- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Larch trees are widely used in afforestation and timber plantations. Yet, little is known on how planted larch trees cope with increasing drought. We used a tree-ring network of 818 trees from 31 plantations spanning most of the distribution of Larix principis-rupprechtii to investigate how extreme drought influences larch radial growth in northern China. We found that summer drought, rather than temperature or precipitation, had the strongest relationship with radial growth throughout the region. Drought increased in frequency in recent decades, leaving a strong imprint on the radial growth of larch, particularly in dry sites. Across its distribution, radial growth in larch trees that experienced extreme droughts more frequently displayed lower resistance to drought, but higher recovery after it, suggesting these populations were better adapted to extreme droughts. Radial growth decreased with increasing drought, with particularly severe declines below a threshold Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) value of 3 to 3.5. Extreme droughts (PDSI < 4.5) caused a reduction of 62% of radial growth and chronic drought events caused around 20% reduction in total radial growth compared with mean growth on the driest sites. Given that current climate projections for northern China indicate a strong increase in the frequency and severity of extreme drought, trees in large portions of the largest afforestation project in the world, particularly those in the drier edge, are likely to experience severe growth reductions in the future. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Research Letters
Pages / Article No.
Subjectapid warming; planted forests; larch; radial growth; drought; climate
Organisational unit09716 - Hille Ris Lambers, Janneke / Hille Ris Lambers, Janneke
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