Geographical patterns of tree-limits of Norway spruce and Scots pine in the southern Swedish Scandes

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The tree-limit altitudes of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) from 180 sites (within an area of 95 km × 165 km) in the southern Scandes were correlated with the geographical variables latitude, longitude and distance to the sea. The results were compared with a similar investigation of the tree-limit of mountain birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh. ssp. tortuosa (Ledeb.) Nyman) in the same area. The three tree-limit altitudes showed good negative correlation with latitude, poor correlation with longitude and good positive correlation with the distance to the sea, suggesting that on a regional scale the altitudes are controlled by macroclimate. At some sites, local topoclimatic features, some of which were partially aspect-dependent, may cause deviations in the regional pattern of tree-limit altitude that is set primarily by summer temperature. Tree-limit responses to potential future climate warming will probably differ substantially in magnitude from site to site in relation to local topography and associated ecological constraints.

Keywords: geographical variables; global warming; monitoring; tree-limit altitude

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology and Environmental Science Umeå University SE-901 87 Umeå Sweden 2: Department of Ecology and Environmental Science Umeå University SE-901 87 Umeå Sweden

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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