Hou, J., Chen, F., Chen, S. and Hou, B. 2016. Assessing the Sensitivity of Young Pine Trees (Pinus tabuliformis) to Climate Change at Moisture Stressed Sites in the Qinling Mountains, Central China. Baltic Forestry 22(2): 307-314.

   In dendroclimatic studies, it is generally assumed that the relationships between the climate factor and tree-ring variations are stable over time. However, a strong age-related growth trend was found in the earlier part of the chronology and may result in time-dependent variance and climate signal changes. In this paper, the tree-ring width chronologies were developed to assess the sensitivity of young pine trees (Pinus tabuliformis) growing at moisture stressed sites in the natural secondary forests of the Qinling Mountains, China. The analysis shows that total February–June precipitation is the main factor limiting the radial growth of young pine trees within our study area. Based on the relationships derived from climate response analyses, the potential of tree-ring chronologies of young pine trees to provide precipitation reconstructions in the Qinling Mountains has been established. Similar with old pine trees, young trees in the natural secondary forest of the Qinling Mountains also can capture the precipitation signals accurately. These results also suggest that tree-ring data from moisture stressed sites in relatively humid environments may be regarded as proxies of drought variability.

Keywords: Pinus tabuliformis; tree rings; the Qinling Mountains; secondary forests; climate response.