Intra-Annual Radial Growth of Pinus kesiya var. langbianensis Is Mainly Controlled by Moisture Availability in the Ailao Mountains, Southwestern China
Intra-annual monitoring of tree growth dynamics is increasingly applied to disentangle growth-change relationships with local climate conditions. However, such studies are still very limited in subtropical regions which show a wide variety of climate regimes. We monitored stem radius variations (SRV) of Pinus kesiya var. langbianensis (Szemao pine) over five years (2012–2015 and 2017) in the subtropical monsoon mountain climate of the Ailao Mountains, Yunnan Province, southwest China. On
... st China. On average, the stem radial growth of Szemao pine started in early March and ended in early October, and the highest growth rates occurred during May to June. Stem radius increments were synchronous with precipitation events, while tree water deficit corresponded to the drought periods. Correlation analysis and linear mixed-effects models revealed that precipitation and relative humidity are the most important limiting factors of stem radial increments, whereas air temperature and vapor pressure deficit significantly affected tree water balance and may play an important role in determining the growing season length and seasonality (i.e., duration, start, and cessation). This study reveals that moisture availability plays a major role for tree growth of P. kesiya var langbianensis in the Ailao Mountains, southwest China.