Physical Sciences, Other; Hengduan Mountains; dendrochronology; climatic response; redundancy analysis
Improved understanding of climate-growth relationships of multi-species is fundamental to understand and predict response of forest growth to future climate change. Forests are mainly composed of conifers in Northwestern Yunnan Plateau, but variations of growth response to climates among the species are not well understood. To detect growth response of multiple species to climate change, we developed residual chronologies of four major conifers, i.e. Abies georgei, Picea likiangensis, Pinus densata and Larix potaninii at upper distributional limits in Shika Snow Mountain. By using dendroclimatology method, we analyzed correlations between the residual chronologies and climate variables. The results showed that conifer radial growth was influenced by both temperature and precipitation in Shika Snow Mountain. Previous November temperature, previous July mean maximum temperature (Tmax) and current June precipitation were the common climatic factors, which had consistent influences on radial growth of four species. Temperature in previous post growing season (September–October) and current growing season (June-August), and precipitation in previous August were the common climatic factors, which had divergent impacts on four species radial growth. Current May Tmax and early growing season (April-May) precipitation showed positive and negative influences on growth of P. likiangensis, respectively. Temperature in current post growing season positively affected growth of A. georgei. According to the prediction of climate models and our understanding in growth response of four species to climate variables, we may understand growth response to climate change at species level. It is difficult to predict future forest growth in the study area, since future climate change might cause both increases or decreases for four species and indirect effects of climate change on forest should be considered.