A test of treeline theory on a montane permafrost island

Körner, Christian and Hoch, Günter. (2006) A test of treeline theory on a montane permafrost island. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 38 (1). pp. 113-119.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249036

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Trees have a common high elevation distribution limit at similar soil temperatures across the globe. Here we tested whether low temperature in the root zone alone can induce the well known dwarfing at the low temperature growth limit of trees by using a ``natural experiment`` with trees growing oil low elevation permafrost ground. At the natural high elevation treeline, both air (shoot) and soil (root) temperature are low, while at the montane permafrost site in the Swiss Jura Mountains, roots are cold, but not shoots. Soil temperature records confirmed that the low elevation study site resembles thermal conditions typical for the high elevation treeline. The warm air conditions have no ameliorating effect on tree growth. Irrespective of shoot temperatures, the root zone temperature and the associated metabolism appear to determine tree growth at this site. The test revealed a critical role of soil temperature, which by itself is sufficient to explain it growth limit of trees associated with a seasonal mean soil temperature at 10 cm depth of around 6 degrees C.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Hoch, Günter and Körner, Christian
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research [of the] University of Colorado
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:13 Nov 2017 15:49
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:45

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