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Long-term trends in height growth of Picea obovata and Pinus sylvestris during the past 100 years in Komi Republic (north-western Russia)

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Adapting forest management practices to the changing environment of Komi Republic requires an understanding of the response of unmanaged natural forests to climatic changes. Komi Republic is a region of north-western Russia where large areas of natural boreal forest still exist. Apical growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) (108 trees, 529 discs) and Siberian spruce (Picea obovata Ledeb.) (88 trees, 423 discs) was analysed using stem analysis techniques. Mean apical growth curves were calculated for four zones of boreal forests in two subsequent 50 year periods starting from 1900. A statistically significant increase in height increment of 40% for Siberian spruce and 30% for Scots pine was identified from samples representing the Komi Republic. Within this region statistically significant height increment increases were found in the middle taiga zone for Siberian spruce of 240% and Scots pine of 140%, while northern taiga Siberian spruce increased by 164%. Taking into account that trees were samples in remote untouched pristine forests, the main causes of increased height increment are suggested to be climatic, which shows a large increase in temperature (0.43°C during the past 30 years) and a modest decrease in precipitation (2.2% over the past 30 years).
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Keywords: Climate change; Scots pine; Siberian spruce; growth variation; height increment changes; site productivity; stem analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland,Institute of Biology, Komi Scientific Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, Syktyvkar, Russia

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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