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Effects of Competition, Drought Stress and Photosynthetic Productivity on the Radial Growth of White Spruce in Western Canada

By Syed A. Alam, Syed A. Alam, Syed A. Alam, Jian-Guo Huang, Kenneth J. Stadt, Philip G. Comeau, Andria Dawson, Guillermo Gea-Izquierdo, Tuomas Aakala, Teemu Hölttä, Timo Vesala, Timo Vesala, Annikki Mäkelä and Frank Berninger


Understanding the complex interactions of competition, climate warming-induced drought stress, and photosynthetic productivity on the radial growth of trees is central to linking climate change impacts on tree growth, stand structure and in general, forest productivity. Using a mixed modeling approach, a stand-level photosynthetic production model, climate, stand competition and tree-ring data from mixedwood stands in western Canada, we investigated the radial growth response of white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench.) Voss] to simulated annual photosynthetic production, simulated drought stress, and tree and stand level competition. The long-term (~80-year) radial growth of white spruce was constrained mostly by competition, as measured by total basal area, with minor effects from drought. There was no relation of competition and drought on tree growth but dominant trees increased their growth more strongly to increases in modeled photosynthetic productivity, indicating asymmetric competition. Our results indicate a co-limitation of drought and climatic factors inhibiting photosynthetic productivity for radial growth of white spruce in western Canada. These results illustrate how a modeling approach can separate the complex factors regulating both multi-decadal average radial growth and interannual radial growth variations of white spruce, and contribute to advance our understanding on sustainable management of mixedwood boreal forests in western Canada

Topics: boreal forest, drought, photosynthetic production, tree-tree competition, tree growth, western canada, Plant culture, SB1-1110
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01915/full
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