Bauwe, A., *, Koch, M., Kallweit, R., KonopatzkY, A., Strohbach, B. and Lennartz, B. 2013. Tree-ring Growth Response of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) to Climate and Soil Water Availability in the Lowlands of North-Eastern Germany. Baltic Forestry 19(2)

The relationships between the radial growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and both temperature and precipitation were studied at 17 sites in the North-Eastern German lowlands. Furthermore, we investigated the influence of soil water availability on growth response to detect whether this integrative parameter better explains radial growth than climatic variables alone. Dendrochronological methods were applied to build tree-ring chronologies and calculate chronology statistics. Correlation coefficients, bootstrapped response functions, and pointer year analysis were used to analyse climate-growth relationships. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed to explore differences in the strength of the climate signal. Chronology statistics showed similar radial growth patterns for the selected stands. Comparably low values for the expressed population signal (EPS) indicated a moderate common climate signal. The analyses revealed that radial growth is promoted primarily by a wet/warm February and secondarily by a wet/cool June. Although soil moisture availability in summer was not identified as the determining factor for radial growth, severe soil water stress can lead to substantial growth depression. Mean sensitivity and PCA suggest that climate sensitivity tends to slightly increase with increasing tree age. We conclude that the pine forests in North-Eastern Germany are far from being seriously threatened by inter-annual climatic variations in the near future.

Key words: Dendroclimatology, climate–growth relationships, relative extractable water, LWF-BROOK90.