Cedro, A.*, Bosiacka, B. and Myśliwy, M. 2013. Dendrochronological Analysis of Three Pine Species Used as Pioneer Species to Stabilize the Coastal Dunes of the Southern Baltic Coast. Baltic Forestry 19(2): 226-235

The objective of the study was to construct the chronologies of three pine species used for coastal dune stabilization on the Polish Baltic coast: native Scots pine Pinus sylvestris and two species alien to the European flora – jack pine Pinus banksiana and pitch pine Pinus rigida. The width of annual growth rings and growth responses to changing environmental conditions was compared in the forest stands of these three species growing in the coastal crowberry pine forest Empetro nigri-Pinetum. The prospects of all three species as pioneer tree species on dunes were also discussed. At the beginning of the growing season in 2008, 61 trees were sampled and consequently 5,077 annual growth rings were measured. The longest chronology of 98 years (1910–2007) was developed for Pinus sylvestris and the shortest of 88 years (1920–2007) for Pinus banksiana. Dendrochronological curves for samples of Pinus sylvestris and Pinus rigida are the most coincident (t = 7.9, Gl = 74%), whereas Pinus sylvestris and Pinus banksiana are least coincident (t = 4.4, Gl = 69%).

The analysis of meteorological conditions in the year preceding the pointer year provided evidence that thermal conditions in the winter season and early spring are the main factor affecting the annual tree-ring width. Higher than the average temperature in January and February, and particularly in March, induces an increased cambial activity in the investigated pine species and the development of wider tree-rings in the following growing season. Low temperatures in winter and early spring reduce the growth.

Growth-climate relationships determined on the basis of pointer years are proved correct by the correlation analysis and response functions. In the case of air temperature, statistically significant values are recorded in winter and spring months. In addition, thermal conditions in July and August appear to be important for Pinus banksiana, and August temperature for Pinus rigida. Higher rainfall in the preceding summer and high precipitation in late winter and early spring have a positive effect on the tree-ring width for all the examined species.

Key words: tree-ring width, meteorological conditions, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), pitch pine (Pinus rigida Mill.), coastal dunes.