A comparison of the climate response of North Carolina longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) trees among standardized measures of early-, late-, and totalwood radial growth

Authors: Peter Soule*, , Paul Knapp, University of North Carolina - Greensboro, Justin Maxwell, Indiana University
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography
Keywords: climate-growth relationships, tree-rings, longleaf pine, earlywood, latewood, North Carolina
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

In this study we examine the growth-climate response of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) trees growing on multiple sites on the North Carolina coastal plain region. In prior research (Knapp et al., Climatic Change, 2016) we found that latewood bands of longleaf pine were closely associated (r = 0.71, p < 0.01) with precipitation delivered from landfalling tropical cyclones. Here our goal is to more broadly examine the climate-growth responses of longleaf pine to temperature, precipitation, and drought severity using a longer period of record (1905-2018) than that available for tropical cyclone precipitation (1953-2018) and by comparing the responses between standardized total ring width length (totalwood, TW), radial growth produced in the early growing season (earlywood, EW), and radial growth produced late in the growing season (latewood, LW). While EW can be responsive to early growing season moisture, our results show that moisture in the later part of the growing season is the primary climatic driver of radial growth. The strongest relationships (r = 0.57, p < 0.01) we have identified using climatic division data uses a measure of LW, adjusted to account for the influence of EW, correlated with July-September average precipitation. Overall, multiple significant positive relationships exist in late summer for both volume of precipitation and for drought severity measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index. These results support our findings of precipitation delivered by landfalling tropical cyclones as an important driver of radial growth in coastal longleaf pine ecosystems.

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