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Wood anatomical traits in black spruce reveal latent water constraints on the boreal forest

Puchi Paulina F., Castagneri Daniele, Rossi Sergio et Carrer Marco. (2020). Wood anatomical traits in black spruce reveal latent water constraints on the boreal forest. Global Change Biology, 26, (3), p. 1767-1777.

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The effects of climate change on high-latitude forest ecosystems are complex, making forecasts of future scenarios uncertain. The predicted lengthening of the growing season under warming conditions is expected to increase tree growth rates. However, there is evidence of an increasing sensitivity of the boreal forest to drought stress. To assess the influence of temperature and precipitation on the growth of black spruce (Picea mariana), we investigated long-term series of wood anatomical traits on 20 trees from four sites along 600 km, the latitudinal range of the closed boreal forest in Quebec, Canada. We correlated the anatomical traits resolved at intraring level with daily temperature, vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and precipitation during the 1943–2010 period. Tree-ring width, number of cells per ring and cell wall thickness were positively affected by spring and summer daily mean and maximum temperature at the northern sites. These results agree with the well-known positive effect of high temperatures on tree ring formation at high latitudes. However, we captured, for the first time in this region, the latent impact of water availability on xylem traits. Indeed, in all the four sites, cell lumen area showed positive correlations with daily precipitation (mostly at low latitude), and/or negative correlations with daily mean and maximum temperature and VPD (mostly at high latitude). We inferred that drought, due to high temperatures, low precipitations, or both, negatively affects cell enlargement across the closed boreal forest, including the northernmost sites. The production of tracheids with narrower lumen, potentially more resistant to cavitation, could increase xylem hydraulic safety under a warmer and drier climate. However, this would result in lower xylem conductivity, with consequent long-term hydraulic deterioration, growth decline, and possibly lead to tree dieback, as observed in other forest ecosystems at lower latitudes.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Pages:p. 1767-1777
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Identifiant unique:10.1111/gcb.14906
Sujets:Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences appliquées > Foresterie et sciences du bois
Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences naturelles > Biologie et autres sciences connexes
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences fondamentales
Unités de recherche > Centre de recherche sur la Boréalie (CREB)
Mots-clés:cell number, cell wall thickness, climate change, dendroanatomy, lumen area, Picea mariana, xylem
Déposé le:02 juin 2023 12:16
Dernière modification:02 juin 2023 12:16
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