Growth responses of Norway spruce to climate (change) in the Javorová valley of the High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia
Air temperature has increased more rapidly in the High Tatra National Park than the global average, which ranges between 0.85°C [0.65°C – 1.06°C], over the last half a century (Hartmann et al. 2013). Between 1951 and 2018 the minimum air temperatures in the High Tatra National Park increased by 1.83°C, and maximum temperatures have increased by 1.37°C over 50 years. The change in temperature is evident in the dendroclimatological study of an alpine Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) stand (1450 m asl.) in the Javorová valley. The growth response of the past decades deviates from the common pattern: previously the spruces responded positively to summer temperatures, which is a common response of mountainous conifers (Büntgen et al. 2007; Kaczka et al. 2016). However, during the last 33 years the Norway spruce of the Javorová valley have responded less positively. Additionally, the commonly observed negative response to winter and early spring temperatures (Büntgen et al. 2007) shifted to a more neutral or even positive response. On the one hand, these findings suggest that Norway spruce from the tree line can profit from an increase in temperature. On the other hand, the warming could harm the mountain forest ecosystem. A change in the response to precipitation is also evident.
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