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Ann. For. Sci.
Volume 58, Number 3, April 2001
Page(s) 237 - 251
DOI: 10.1051/forest:2001123

Ann. For. Sci. 58 (2001) 237-251

Detecting the impact of climate and disturbances on tree-rings of Fagus sylvatica L. and Quercus robur L. in a lowland forest in Cantabria, Northern Spain

Vicente Rozas

Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, Catedrático Rodrigo Uría, 33071 Oviedo, Spain

(Received 18 April 2000; accepted 9 October 2000)

The influence of climate and disturbances on tree-ring widths of European beech and pedunculate oak were evaluated in a lowland forest of Northern Spain. From 1925 to 1980, 36% of the variance of beech ring-width and 29% of the oak one was explained by climate. The climatic models showed that low precipitation in July of the previous year limited the radial growth of beech, while oak one was instead restricted by water deficits in July of the current year. Ten main disturbance periods were identified from 1780 to 1997, among which the 1922-1935 one was the most important. Since beech trees showed suppressed growth from 1800 to 1920, probably the forest canopy became denser during this time. The disturbance periods identified in 1922-1935 and 1948-1953 contributed to both increase the growth of beech above the expected, and intensify its climatic response. On the other hand, deviations of oak growth from the expected without-disturbance indices agreed with the disturbance history up to 1850. From 1850 to 1997, oak growth became independent from disturbances sequence, yielding a constant climatic response in 1925-1980. The opposite effects of disturbances on both the radial growth and the climatic response of European beech and pedunculate oak are related to their different tolerance to shade. These results have relevant methodological implications on the analysis of climate-growth relationships, and on the reconstruction of past disturbance regimes by means of dendroecological techniques.

Effet du climat et des perturbations locales sur la croissance radiale de Fagus sylvatica L. et Quercus robur L. dans une forêt naturelle de Cantabria, Nord de l'Espagne. L'influence relative du climat et des perturbations locales sur la croissance radiale du hêtre et du chêne pédonculé a été analysée dans une vieille forêt naturelle du Nord de l'Espagne. Entre 1925 et 1980, 36 % de la variance des largeurs de cernes du hêtre et 29 % de celle du chêne s'expliquent par le climat. Les modèles climatiques élaborés montrent que la croissance radiale du hêtre est limitée par les précipitations du mois de juillet de l'année précédente, alors que celle du chêne l'est par le déficit hydrique du mois de juillet de l'année en cours. Dix périodes de perturbation de la croissance, d'origine non climatique, ont été identifiées entre 1780 et 1997, parmi lesquelles celle de 1922-1935 a été la plus importante. La croissance radiale des hêtres apparaît faible de 1800 à 1920 en raison de la fermeture du couvert forestier au cours de cette période. Puis des perturbations survenues en 1922-1935 et 1948-1953 entraînent une augmentation de la croissance, qui devient alors supérieure au signal commun. Conjointement, la réponse aux contraintes climatiques se renforce au cours des mêmes périodes. Chez le chêne, les déviations de la croissance par rapport au signal commun sont en accord avec l'historique des perturbations locales jusqu'en 1850. Puis la croissance devient indépendante de ces perturbations et converge avec le signal commun. Sa réponse au climat demeure constante de 1925 à 1980.

Key words: dendroecology / ring width / response function / forest disturbance / Kalman filter

Mots clés : dendroécologie / largeur de cerne / fonction de réponse / perturbation / filtre de Kalman

Correspondence and reprints: Vicente Rozas Tel. (34) 985 10 48 27; Fax. (34) 985 10 48 65;

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001

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