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We examined relationships between tree ring-width and climate at 232 sites around the circumpolar boreal forest to explore variability in two types of response to temperature: a browning response characterized by inverse correlations between growth and temperature, and a greening response characterized by positive correlations between growth and temperature. We used moving-window correlation analysis for eight 30-year time windows, lagged by 10 years, to characterize the climate response at each site from 1902 to 2002. Inverse growth responses to temperature were widespread, occurring in all species, all time periods, and in nearly all geographic areas. The frequency of the browning response increased after 1942, while the frequency of the greening response declined. Browning was concentrated in five species (Picea abies, Picea glauca, Picea mariana,Picea obovata and Pinus banksiana), and occurred more frequently in the warmer parts of species' ranges, suggesting that direct temperature stress might be a factor. In some species, dry sites were also more likely to experience browning; moisture stress might thus be an additional explanation in some cases. As inverse responses to temperature are widespread, and occur in a broad array of species, there is unlikely to be any single explanation for their occurrence.

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Environmental Research Letters





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© 2007 by Institute of Physics. View original article at Environmental Research Letters DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045013.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.