Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 24-35.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0216

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Response of radial growth to climate change for Larix olgensis along an altitudinal gradient on the eastern slope of Changbai Mountain, Northeast China

YU Jian1,2, XU Qian-Qian3, LIU Wen-Hui4, LUO Chun-Wang1, YANG Jun-Long5, LI Jun-Qing1, LIU Qi-Jing1,*   

  1. 1College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2Jiangsu Polytechnic College of Agriculture and Forestry, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu 212400, China
    3Zhengzhou Fruit Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhengzhou 450009, China
    4Biodiversity Research Center, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science, Beijing 100012, China
    5School of Agriculture, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
  • Online:2016-01-28 Published:2016-01-31
  • Contact: Qi-Jing LIU
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: AimsTo further understand the sensitivity of tree growth to climate change and its variation with altitude, particularly the growth-climate relationship near the timberline, the radial growth of Larix olgensis in an oldgrowth forest along an altitudinal gradient on the eastern slope of Changbai Mountain was investigated. MethodsThe relationships between climate factors and tree-ring index were determined using bootstrapped response functions analysis with the software DENDROCLIM2002. Redundancy analysis, a multivariate “direct” gradient analysis, and its ordination axes were constrained to represent linear combinations with meteorological elements. The analysis was used to clarify the relationship between tree-ring width indexes at different elevations and climate factors during the period 1959-2009.Important findings indicated: (1) Tree ring chronologies from high altitudes were more superior than other samples in terms of growth-climate relationship, revealing that trees at high altitudes are more sensitive to climate variation than at low sites, (2) Tree growth was mainly affected by temperatures of from before and through growing season in previous year, especially in June and August. In comparison, tree growth in the low elevation was regulated by the combination of precipitation of August and Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) of September in current year, (3) Trees growing below timberline appeared to be more sensitive to climate warming; small extents of habitat heterogeneity or disturbance events beyond timberline may have masked the response, hence the optimal sites for examining growth trends as a function of climate variation are considered to be just below timberline, and (4) Redundancy analysis between the three chronologies and climate factors showed the same results as that of the correlation analysis and response function analysis, and this is in support of previous conclusion that redundancy analysis is also effective in quantifying the relationship between tree-ring indexes and climate factors.

Key words: altitudinal gradient, timberline, Larix olgensis, redundancy analysis, tree ring

Table 1

Description of sampling sites"

Sampling sites
Altitude (m)
Latitude (N)
Longitude (E)
Number of cores
Time span (a)
低海拔 Low altitude 1 448 42.07° 128.26° 107 273
高海拔林线内 Upper altitude below timberline 1 931 42.06° 128.08° 81 131
高海拔林线外 Upper altitude above timberline 1 990 42.01° 128.09° 51 108

Fig. 1

Residual chronology of Larix olgensis at different elevations. The thick line is a smoothed moving average spline of tree-ring index."

Fig. 2

Monthly temperature and precipitation near the top of Changbai Mountain."

Table 2

Statistics of ring-width chronologies and common interval analysis"

Statistic characters
Low altitude
Upper altitude below timberline
Upper altitude above timberline
公共区间 Common intervals 1882-2010 1946-2006 1969-2008
平均值 Mean 0.997 0.974 0.954
平均敏感度 Mean sensitivity 0.19 0.28 0.29
标准偏差 Standard deviation 0.18 0.24 0.24
一阶自相关 First order autocorrelation 0.10 -0.01 -0.06
树间相关系数 Correlation between trees 0.42 0.57 0.54
信噪比 Signal-to-noise ratio 30.90 40.28 28.89
样本总体代表性 Expressed population signal 0.97 0.98 0.97
第一主成分方差解释量 Variation in first eigenvector (%) 44.19 58.30 56.07

Table 3

Correlation coefficients of residual chronology of Larix olgensis"

Low altitude
Upper altitude below timberline
Upper altitude above timberline
低海拔 Low altitude 1
高海拔林线内 Upper altitude below timberline 0.595 0* 1
高海拔林线外 Upper altitude above timberline 0.543 1 0.889 4** 1

Fig. 3

Correlation analysis of residual chronology for Larix olgensis in relation to monthly climatic factors in different elevations. *, p < 0.05; C, data of current year; P, data of previous year."

Fig. 4

Response function analysis of residual chronology for Larix olgensis in relation to monthly climate factors at different elevations. *, p < 0.05; C, data of current year; P, data of previous year."

Fig. 5

Redundancy analysis calculated for residual chronologies of Larix olgensis at different elevations (dash vectors) and monthly meteorological elements (solid vectors) for the period 1959-2009. Only significant climate factors are shown. The longer the vector the more important is the climate factor. The correlation between the variables is illustrated by the cosine of the angle between the two vectors. Vectors pointing nearly the same direction indicate a high positive correlation, while the opposite directions have a high negative correlation, whereas vectors perpendicular to each other represent near-zero correlation. PDSI, Palmer drought severity index."

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