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Ann. For. Sci.
Volume 57, Number 2, February 2000
Page(s) 89 - 100
DOI: 10.1051/forest:2000105

Ann. For. Sci. 57 (2000) 89-100

Tree-ring characteristics of subalpine fir
(Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.) in relation
to elevation and climatic fluctuations

Bernhard Erich Splechtna ${^{\rm a}}$, Jaroslav Dobrys ${^{\rm a,b}}$ and Karel Klinka ${^{\rm a}}$

${^{\rm a}}$Forest Sciences Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada
${^{\rm b}}$Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, 252 43 Pruhonice, Czech Republic

Received 4 May 1999; accepted 5 November 1999


To determine the influence of elevation and year-to-year climatic fluctuations on radial growth and tree-ring properties of Abies lasiocarpa, we sampled dominant trees in 49 second-growth stands on mesic sites in British Columbia. The earlywood, latewood, and total ring width, and latewood and maximum density decreased significantly with increasing elevation. Since no significant trend was observed for latewood percentage and ring density, decline in maximum density will have minor impacts on wood quality of high and low-elevation Abies lasiocarpa. The correlation and response functions indicated that response to climatic factors changed with elevation. Although mesic sites within the study area were not expected to be water deficient, ring width decreased with the occurrence of warm and dry spring weather in low-elevation. Low summer temperature limited ring width in high-elevation and maximum latewood density and latewood width in low- and high-elevation, albeit the relationship was much stronger in high-elevation.

Abies lasiocarpa / dendrochronology / radial growth / response function / wood density


Caractéristiques des cernes annuels chez Abies lasiocarpa ((Hook.) Nutt.) en fonction de l'altitude et des variations climatiques. On a échantillonné les arbres dominants au sein de 49 peuplements de seconde venue sur des stations moyennes de la Colombie-Britannique, afin de déterminer l'influence de l'altitude et des variations climatiques sur la croissance radiale et les propriétés des cernes annuels chez Abies lasiocarpa. La largeur de la zone de bois initial, de la zone de bois final ainsi que la largeur totale du cerne, de même que la densité du bois final et la densité maximale diminuent de façon significative lorsque l'altitude augmente. Puisqu'on n'observe aucune tendance significative pour le pourcentage de bois final ou la densité des cernes, une baisse de la densité maximale n'aura qu'un impact mineur sur la qualité du bois chez Abies lasiocarpa, en haute comme en basse altitude. Les études de corrélation et de fonction reactionnaires indiquent que la réponse aux facteurs climatiques varie selon l'altitude. La largeur des cernes diminue en l'occurrence d'un printemps chaud et sec en basse altitude, bien qu'on se n'ait pas attendu une pénurie d'eau sur des stations moyennes de la région d'études. Des températures estivales basses limitent la largeur des cernes à haute altitude ainsi que la densité maximale du bois final et la largeur du cerne du bois final chez les arbres à faible et à haute altitude, bien que la relation soit plus forte à haute altitude.

Abies lasiocarpa / dendrochronologie / croissance radiale /
fonction de réponse / densité du bois

Correspondence and reprints: B.E. Splechtna,
fax: +43 7412 53565, e-mail:

Copyright INRA, EDP Sciences

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