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Bosque (Valdivia)

 ISSN 0717-9200

IVANCICH, Horacio S et al. Changes in height growth patterns in the upper tree-line forests of Tierra del Fuego in relation to climate change. Bosque (Valdivia) []. 2012, 33, 3, pp.267-270. ISSN 0717-9200.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-92002012000300006.

Nothofagus pumilio occupy the mountain slopes reaching to the upper altitudinal limit of the forests. This extremely stressful environment represents the optimum conditions to study changes in growth patterns due to climate variations. Our goal was to analyze recent changes in stem height growth in forests located in the upper altitudinal tree-line along Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), and establish possible linkages to changes observed in surface temperature during the last decades. Nine locations were sampled, and four plots were measured in each location. Forest structure was characterized, and stem analyses were performed to assess height growth patterns. ANOVAs and classification analyses were conducted using location and time as main variables. Tree-growth height increased with time, e.g. 1.0 cm.year-1 during 1870-1959, 2.7 cm year-1 during 1960-1979, and 5.0 cm year-1 during 1980-2010. These differences were significant between periods and locations, and can be related to its geographical situation. Increment in stem height growth seems to be related with the worldwide surface air temperature. A decline in stem height growth registered during the last two decades can also be related with the regional decrease in the mean air temperature. The analysis of stem height growth is a useful tool to evaluate the incidence of climate change over trees growing under extreme environmental conditions.

: tree-line; Nothofagus; height growth; climate change; forest structure.

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