Short-term stem diameter variations in irrigated and non-irrigated stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) trees in a xeric non-native environment

Key message

Irrigation of adult stone pine trees growing in a xeric non-native habitat had positive effects not only in stem diameter growth but also in tree response to climatic variability.


Context Stone pine is a key species from Mediterranean Europe increasingly planted in South America. The knowledge about irrigation impact on short-term stem diameter dynamics is still limited in non-native arid areas.
Aims To improve our understanding of the effect of irrigation on (1) stem diameter changes of stone pine trees in a drought-prone environment in Chile and (2) the sensitivity of the species to weather conditions.
Methods We studied daily stem diameter changes in irrigated and non-irrigated 31-year-old stone pine trees during a growing season with below average precipitation in Chile. Short-term diameter changes were recorded using high-resolution dendrometers. The detrended daily stem diameter changes, expressing tree water status, were correlated with weather variability in both irrigated and non-irrigated trees.
Results The growth period lasted longer and the cumulative sum of daily changes increased by 130% in irrigated trees. Moreover, a similar correlation of tree water status with climatic variables was found in non-irrigated, with the exception of precipitation.
Conclusion Irrigation increased stone pine productivity in this xeric environment and reduced the correlations between daily stem diameter variations and local climatic variability.

Tree water status; Growth phenology; Daily stem variability; Digital dendrometer data; Species climate sensitivity

Loewe-Muñoz, V., del Río, R., Delard, C. et al. Short-term stem diameter variations in irrigated and non-irrigated stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) trees in a xeric non-native environment. Annals of Forest Science 78, 99 (2021).

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Data and/or Code availability
The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to institutional guidelines, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Handling Editor
Cyrille B.K. Rathgeber

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