Dendrochronological potential of the Azorean endemic gymnosperm Juniperus brevifolia (Seub.) Antoine

Pavão, D.C., Jevsenak, J., Petrillo, M., Camarinho, R., Rodrigues, A., Borges Silva, L., Elias, R.B. & Silva, L. (2022) Dendrochronological potential of the Azorean endemic gymnosperm Juniperus brevifolia (Seub.) Antoine.

Dendrochronologia, 71, 125901. DOI:10.1016/j.dendro.2021.125901 (IF2020 2,691; Q1 Forestry)
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  • Jan, 2022


Tree-ring inter-annual pattern variation is crucial in dendrochronology, allowing the identification of possible limiting factors on growth. Thus, trees exposed to subtropical or tropical climates without a marked seasonality may show a low degree of interannual variation, impeding a straightforward dendroclimatological approach. Meanwhile, subtropical regions, and areas in transitional climates such as the Azores archipelago, are widely unexplored in terms of dendroclimatology, providing opportunities to work with endemic trees, including the dominant Azorean tree Juniperus brevifolia (Seub.) Antoine. To evaluate the dendrochronological potential of J. brevifolia, we analyzed tree-ring patterns, crossdating capabilities, and correlation with climate parameters. We sampled 48 individual trees from two natural populations (São Miguel and Terceira islands) using an increment borer. Besides, a Trephor tool was used to obtain wood microcores for micro-anatomical analysis. Although the transition between early and latewood was evident, partially indistinct ring boundaries and wedging rings were present in some cases, affecting the crossdating process, but not impeding the establishment of reliable ring-width chronologies. Following detrending, master chronologies were built and correlated with monthly temperature and precipitation data using the treeclim R package. The climate-growth relationships indicated negative correlations with late summer temperature in both populations. Considering our results and the importance of J. brevifolia as a dominant tree in the Azores natural forests, we conclude that it shows an acceptable potential for dendrochronological research. Thus, this study provides baseline information to help fill the knowledge gap regarding the climate-growth relationship of Azorean trees.