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|Dendrochronology of maritime pine in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean
|Azores Archipelago; Intra-annual density fluctuations; Macaronesia; Oceanic islands; Pico Island
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|The Azores Archipelago, located in the North Atlantic Ridge, experiences heavy rainfall and mild temperatures with weak seasonal differences due to oceanic influence. To our knowledge, there have been no dendrochronological studies in the Azores. The aim of this study is to explore the dendrochronological potential of Pinus pinaster Ait. growing in this archipelago and to determine what limiting factor is regulating tree growth. In order to do so, we have sampled adult maritime pine trees growing in a plantation, in the Pico island of the Azores. Tree ring boundaries were not always easily distinguished, suggesting that in some years cambial activity did not stop during winter. In spite of this, it was possible to successfully crossdate the tree-ring series and to establish a tree-ring width chronology with a strong common signal. Climatic correlations revealed a positive response to spring precipitation and no temperature signal in the tree-ring width chronology. Tree-ring width was also negatively correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the sea level pressure (SLP) in May—June. Intra-annual density fluctuations (IADFs), which are anatomical features formed in response to variations in environmental conditions during the growing season, were present in 85% of the tree rings. IADFs were identified based on its position within the ring: type E+, characterized as a transition wood from early- to latewood; type L, the most frequent, characterized as earlywood-like cells within latewood; and type L+, characterized as earlywood-like cells between latewood and earlywood of the next tree ring. Each IADF type presented a unique climatic signal: type E+ was positively correlated with early summer precipitation and early spring temperature; type L was positively correlated with early autumn precipitation and temperature; type L+ was positively correlated with late autumn precipitation. In conclusion, the tree-ring width chronology established for maritime pine growing in the Pico Island of Azores contains a clear climatic signal for spring precipitation, whereas IADFs frequency correlated better with precipitation later in the growing season. For this reason, we suggest that IADFs should be included in future dendrochronological studies in the Macaronesia Biogeographical region since they can improve the climatic signal present in tree-ring width chronologies.
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|I&D CFE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
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