Spatial patterns of climate–growth relationships across species distribution as a forest management tool in Moncayo Natural Park (Spain)

Martínez del Castillo, Edurne; Longares, Luis Alberto; Serrano-Notivoli, Roberto; Sass-Klaassen, Ute G.W.; Luis, Martin de


Forests exhibit strategies to cope with climate change; however, the rate of the changes on forests can be slower than the actual changes in environmental conditions. Forest management policies, such as assisted migration, may help forests to adapt their species distribution to changing climate conditions. Nonetheless, it certainly requires a better knowledge of climate influences on trees to ensure the success of specific management actions. In this study, we apply dendroclimatological methods to investigate the growth response of the main forest species present in Moncayo Natural Park to climate to assess their current relationship and to model these responses over the potential distribution of each species across the study area. Our results revealed large differences in the response of beech, pine and Pyrenean oak to prevailing climate factors and indicated species-specific patterns of climate sensitivity. The general importance of summer conditions for tree growth was confirmed. In addition, we found directional trends in correlation with specific climate factors along spatial gradients; these results are consistent with the autoecology of the studied species. Based on these findings, we present a new model approach that can serve as a key tool for forest managers to design forest communities that are more stable during climatic change.