The climate to growth relationships of pedunculate oak in steppe
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2017
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) is a long-lived species that dominates the extra–zonal natural forests in the steppe landscape of southeastern Ukraine. Although Q. robur is considered to be one of the most important species in European dendrochronology, it has received little attention in the steppe zone because of its scarcity in the often-degraded steppe forests. Nevertheless, a small and unique patch of old-growth oak exists within the boundary of Donetsk, a large industrial center in Eastern Europe. This forest is a remnant of an ancient wood and includes several dozen old-age trees that can contribute to filling some of the spatial gaps in pedunculate oak dendrochronology in Eastern Europe. In this study, we aim to determine the effect of climatic variables on pedunculate oak growth in the steppe zone, and to estimate the longevity of this species in the heterogeneous conditions of an urban forest. A total of 20 trees were cored for this study, varying in age from 55 to 254. The resulting tree-ring chronology correlates strongly with local precipitation in spring and summer, and with local temperature in April, June and July. Moving correlation analysis indicates a shift over the last 80 years in the relationship between oak growth and late winter and early spring temperatures, as well as between oak growth and precipitation in February and August. These findings imply that warming has caused both an advance in oak phenology and changes in the climatic conditions in early spring.