Despite growing interest in predicting plant phenological shifts, advanced spring phenology by global climate change remains debated. Evidence documenting either small or large advancement of spring phenology to rising temperature over the spatio-temporal scales implies a potential existence of a thermal threshold in the responses of forests to global warming. We collected a unique data set of xylem cell-wall-thickening onset dates in 20 coniferous species covering a broad mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient (−3.05 to 22.9°C) across the Northern Hemisphere (latitudes 23°–66° N). Along the MAT gradient, we identified a threshold temperature (using segmented regression) of 4.9 ± 1.1°C, above which the response of xylem phenology to rising temperatures significantly decline. This threshold separates the Northern Hemisphere conifers into cold and warm thermal niches, with MAT and spring forcing being the primary drivers for the onset dates (estimated by linear and Bayesian mixed-effect models), respectively. The identified thermal threshold should be integrated into the Earth-System-Models for a better understanding of spring phenology in response to global warming and an improved prediction of global climate-carbon feedbacks.

A critical thermal transition driving spring phenology of Northern Hemisphere conifers

Lombardi F.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Despite growing interest in predicting plant phenological shifts, advanced spring phenology by global climate change remains debated. Evidence documenting either small or large advancement of spring phenology to rising temperature over the spatio-temporal scales implies a potential existence of a thermal threshold in the responses of forests to global warming. We collected a unique data set of xylem cell-wall-thickening onset dates in 20 coniferous species covering a broad mean annual temperature (MAT) gradient (−3.05 to 22.9°C) across the Northern Hemisphere (latitudes 23°–66° N). Along the MAT gradient, we identified a threshold temperature (using segmented regression) of 4.9 ± 1.1°C, above which the response of xylem phenology to rising temperatures significantly decline. This threshold separates the Northern Hemisphere conifers into cold and warm thermal niches, with MAT and spring forcing being the primary drivers for the onset dates (estimated by linear and Bayesian mixed-effect models), respectively. The identified thermal threshold should be integrated into the Earth-System-Models for a better understanding of spring phenology in response to global warming and an improved prediction of global climate-carbon feedbacks.
cell wall thickening
Northern Hemisphere conifer
photoperiod
spring forcing
winter chilling
xylem phenology
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/131987
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