Radial growth anisotropy and temporality in fast-growing temperate conifers

Key message

Radial growth in a group of Pinus radiata D. Don. trees varies in magnitude around the circumference and follows synchronous but arrhythmic dynamics.


Context Eccentric and irregular girth growth is typically associated to specific growth responses, but it is generally assumed to be small or absent during normal development. The dynamics by which excess growth is formed are unclear.
Aims The objective of this study is to determine if growth anisotropy is a commonly occurring phenomenon without apparent mechanical imbalance of the tree and to document the temporality of differential radial growth.
Methods Six mature P. radiata trees were equipped with point dendrometers at different circumferential positions. Growth rates and periods of activity were monitored over 4 months.
Results The highest growth differential on a single tree exceeded a factor of two. The direction of the highest growth varied between trees. In one case, that direction switched over time. The amount of anisotropy was explained by differences in the number of growing days and growth rate entropy.
Conclusion Tree stem formation in fast-growing softwoods is a biological process characterized by high spatial heterogeneity and intermittent temporal activity.

Radial growth; Tree stems; Dendrometer; Anisotropy; Environmental forcing; Conifers

Sellier, D., S├ęgura, R. Radial growth anisotropy and temporality in fast-growing temperate conifers. Annals of Forest Science 77, 85 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-020-00991-9

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Data availability
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity repository, https://knb.ecoinformatics.org/view/doi:10.5063/F1Z60MFG

Handling Editor
Cyrille B. K. Rathgeber

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