Evaluating the wood anatomical and dendroecological potential of arctic dwarf shrub communities

In: IAWA Journal
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  • 1 Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL, Zürcherstraße 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 2 Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL, Zürcherstraße 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 3 Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Zähringerstraße 25, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 4 Institute for Forest Growth IWW, University of Freiburg, Tennebacherstraße 4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
  • 5 Institute for Forest Growth IWW, University of Freiburg, Tennebacherstraße 4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
  • 6 Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL, Zürcherstraße 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 7 Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL, Zürcherstraße 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 8 Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Zähringerstraße 25, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 9 Global Change Research Centre AS CR, v.v.i., Bělidla 986/4a, CZ-60300 Brno, Czech Republic

Supplementing broader-scale dendroecological approaches with high-resolution wood anatomical analyses constitutes a useful technique to assess spatiotemporal patterns of climate-induced growth responses in circumpolar tundra vegetation. A systematic evaluation of dendrochronological and wood anatomical features in arctic dwarf shrubs is, however, still missing. Here, we report on nearly thousand samples from ten major dwarf shrub species that were collected at 30 plot-sites around 70°N and 22°W in coastal East Greenland. Morphological root and stem characteristics, together with intra-annual anatomical variations are outlined and the potential and limitation of ring counting is stressed. This study further demonstrates the possibility to gain annually resolved insight on past dry matter production and carbon allocation in arctic (and alpine) environments well beyond northern (and upper) treelines, where vegetation growth is particularly sensitive to environmental change.

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