Treeline shifting in response to climate change in Rocky Mountains, Alberta

Authors: Selina Akhter Lira*, University of Calgary, David Goldblum, University of Calgary
Topics: Natural Resources, Biogeography, Paleoenvironmental Change
Keywords: Climate change, Treeline shifting, Tree radial growth
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

To ascertain the impact of recent climate change, tree radial growth rates associated with monthly climatic parameters were investigated for the dominant tree species (subalpine larch, subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce) at, above, and below treeline (treeline, tundra and forest respectively) in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Climate change implications on tree regeneration and radial growth have been documented in many studies suggesting variation depending on tree species, elevation, and topography. In many regions across the globe, treeline which is defined by stressful climate conditions, is moving upslope as increasing temperature facilitates seedling success beyond treeline. This study quantified tree growth rate of three tree species using dendrochronology. Field sampling was conducted during the Summer 2018 including collecting cores from all mature trees, seedling and sapling counts, and harvesting of seedlings to determine age and regeneration success. The ongoing analysis revealed that for the same site conditions tree growth rate varied by species in the study area. Regime shift analysis employed to measure pattern shift in growth rate for each tree species. Dendroclim 2002 software analysis reveals correlation analysis for climate-growth relationships for each tree species for each altitudinal class (treeline, forest and tundra). This research represents patterns of tree radial growth rate for three dominant tree species at three elevational ranges in the study area over the past 150+ years.

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