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Tree-Ring Characteristics Along a Vegetation Gradient in Northern Arizona

Harold C. Fritts, David G. Smith, John W. Cardis and Carl A. Budelsky
Ecology
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Jul., 1965), pp. 394-401
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1934872
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1934872
Page Count: 9
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Tree-Ring Characteristics Along a Vegetation Gradient in Northern Arizona
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Abstract

Tree-ring samples of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, Pinus ponderosa Laws., and Pinus edulis Engelm. for 1860 through 1962 were obtained from sites along a vegetational gradient, ranging from forest interior sites to semiarid lower forest border sites. Samples were analyzed using a stratified nested plot design. Near the lower forest border tree rings are narrowest, the variability in the relative ring-width response from year to year is greatest, and the variance in common or the correlation between radii and between trees is highest. This variability is more highly related to climatic fluctuations than the variability in highest. This variability is more highly related to climatic fluctuations that the variability in forest interior trees and may be attributed to longer and more frequent periods during which water stress is limiting to physiological processes in the trees. Hence, at the arid forest border tree-ring chronologies contain the most consistent, but variable, growth responses and provide the best record of climatic fluctuations. The semiarid lower forest border trees exhibit a high frequency of partial growth layers. Chronologies from the forest interior exhibit very few partial growth layers. Crossdating between both types of sites and among many individuals of different species makes absolute dating not only possible but exceedingly reliable. Such tree-ring analyses may have considerable application to the evaluation of ecological forest gradients.

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