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SAPLINGS HEIGHT GROWTH DYNAMICS IN TREELINE ECOSYSTEMS FROM EASTERN CARPATHIANS

I. Popa, C. Nechita, A. Semeniuc, V. Timis
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Timberline and treeline ecosystems are one of the most sensitive to climate warming. The sensitivity and response of treeline vegetation to environmental changes, especially to climate extremes, are increasingly discussed. Since treeline heterogeneity appears from regional to smaller scales the approach must be improved by including time scale from short to long-term. In treeline ecosystems the height growth of tree species in the first decades of life are good indicators of adaptability to climate changes. The height growth dynamics in the transition area from timberline to treeline area is different than the one for compact forests. Here, we (1) explore variability of the height increment of two species (Norway spruce and cembra pine) with a height of 2-3 m. (2) The analysis was conducted in two high altitude sites (Rodna Mts. and Calimani Mts.) from Eastern Carpathians, when different contrasting aspects were taken under consideration: sunny and shade, and (3) also, the potential addressability of the lines of investigation for future research in the area of study was evaluated. The annual height increment was measured for saplings with different ages, without damage or stem breakage. The height growth curves from Calimani indicate two differences between spruce and cembra pine up to the age of 15, after which there was a small increase for cembra pine. For specimens from Rodna, it was observed a systematic increase of height growth for cembra pine compared to spruce. The values of cumulative height increase were higher in Calimani compared to Rodna. At the age of 18 years, the average spruce height was found to be 165 ± 61 cm in Călimani and 150 ± 66 cm in Rodna and for cembra pine the mean height at the same age was 173 ± 42 cm in Calimani and 156 ± 63 cm in Rodna. Our preliminary results reflect the minimal age needed to reach a specific height. The successive snow breakage and wild fauna damages can increase significantly this age.

Keywords: height increment, treeline, Carpathians


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