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Is ring width a reliable proxy for stem-biomass increment ? A case study in European Beech

Abstract : The relationship between basal-area increment and stem-volume increment or biomass annual production was investigated in 30 dominant European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in northeastern France. The trees were sampled at four heights along the stem for dendrochronological and densitometric measurements. Annual stem-volume and stembiomass increments were computed from the measurements and were not obtained by applying allometric relationships. A comparison of the ring-area increments at the four stem heights indicated that the vertical distribution of annual growth fluctuates at an interannual time step and is influenced by climate during the growing season, particularly drought events. Ring-area increments were more strongly reduced at breast height than in the upper parts of the tree during dry years. Relationships between basal-area increment and volume or annual biomass production were very strong, but the residuals of these relationhips contained up to 50% climate information. The amplitude of the breastheight radial-growth response to drought is much larger than the volume and biomass-production responses. Variations of wood density in this diffuse-porous species are not large enough to consistently modify the estimates of annual stem biomass production. Breast-height series are a valuable tool for dendrochronological investigations, but as they are more sensitive to drought, they greatly underestimate tree biomass increments during drought episodes.
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Olivier Bouriaud, Nathalie Bréda, Jean-Luc Dupouey, André Granier. Is ring width a reliable proxy for stem-biomass increment ? A case study in European Beech. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, NRC Research Press, 2005, 35 (12), pp.2920-2933. ⟨10.1139/X05-202⟩. ⟨hal-02681145⟩



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