iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Influence of tree density on climate-growth relationships in a Pinus pinaster Ait. forest in the northern mountains of Sardinia (Italy)

Gianluigi Mazza   , Andrea Cutini, Maria Chiara Manetti

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 456-463 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1190-007
Published: Oct 19, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

In view of the projected increases in the frequency and duration of drought events in the Mediterranean basin, a better understanding how differences in stand structure influence climate-growth relationships can improve and drive the conservation and management strategies for marginal forests in mountain areas. In this study, we examined the intra-annual variability of growth patterns and responses to climate of two maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) stands growing at contrasting tree densities at low elevation in northern Sardinia. A dendroclimatic analysis was used to assess the climate-growth relationships of these trees on monthly, seasonal and annual scales. The late spring and summer precipitations of the current year appeared to be the crucial climatic driver that encouraged the radial growth of the species in this mountain stand. However, summer drought was the primary climate constraint, exerting negative effects on P. pinaster growth. Summer Palmer drought severity index showed contrasting influence on latewood growth responses to drought conditions related to stand density, remaining significant also during the autumn months in the stand with the highest tree density. Our findings indicate that stands growing at high tree densities may experience more prolonged water shortages, especially during the late summer and early autumn months. Additionally, since the early 1980s, as precipitation has decreased, the influence of previous rainy years on radial growth has been highly significant in the stand with the lowest tree density. This result might suggests that these trees are able to utilize a greater amount of water reaching deeper soil horizons stored due to the previous rainy years, especially during periods of low precipitation.


Pinus pinaster, Tree Rings, Stand Density, Climate-growth Relationships, Drought

Authors’ address

Gianluigi Mazza
Andrea Cutini
Maria Chiara Manetti
Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Forestry Research Centre (CRA-SEL), v.le S. Margherita 80, I-52100 Arezzo (Italy)

Corresponding author

Gianluigi Mazza


Mazza G, Cutini A, Manetti MC (2014). Influence of tree density on climate-growth relationships in a Pinus pinaster Ait. forest in the northern mountains of Sardinia (Italy). iForest 8: 456-463. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1190-007

Academic Editor

Davide Ascoli

Paper history

Received: Nov 28, 2013
Accepted: Jun 28, 2014

First online: Oct 19, 2014
Publication Date: Aug 02, 2015
Publication Time: 3.77 months

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