Understanding how the growth of trees at high latitudes in boreal forest is controlled is important for projections of global carbon sequestration and timber production in relation to climate change. Is stem growth of boreal forest trees constrained by the length of the growing season when stem cambial cells divide1, or by the length of the period when resources can be captured2? In both cases, the timing of the thaw in the spring is critical: neither cambial cell division nor uptake of nutrients and carbon dioxide can occur while the soil is frozen. Here we argue, on the basis of long-term observations made in northern Saskatchewan and Sweden, that the time between the spring thaw and the autumn freeze determines the amount of annual tree growth, mainly through temperature effects on carbon-dioxide uptake in spring and on nutrient availability and uptake during summer, rather than on cambial cell division.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Vaganov, E. A., Hughes, M. K., Kirdyanov, A. V., Schweingruber, F. H. & Silkin, P. P. Nature 400, 149–151 (1999).
Bergh, J. & Linder, S. Glob. Change Biol. 5, 245–253 (1999).
Goulden, M. L. et al. Science 279, 214–217 (1998).
Jarvis, P. G. et al. 1996 Boreas data, Oak Ridge National Laboratory archive (Oak Ridge, TN).
Bergh, J., McMurtrie, R. E. & Linder, S. Forest Ecol. Mgmt 110, 125– 139 (1998).
Malhi, Y., Baldocchi, D. D. & Jarvis, P. G. Plant Cell Envir. 22, 715– 740 (1999).
Gower, S. T. et al. J. Geophys. Res. 102, 29029– 29041 (1997).
Jarvis, P. G. et al. J. Geophys. Res. 102, 28953– 28966 (1997).
Linder, S. Ecol. Bull. (Copenhagen) 44, 178–190 (1995).
Bergh, J., Linder, S., Lundmark, T. & Elfving, B. Forest Ecol. Mgmt 119, 51–62 ( 1999).
About this article
Cite this article
Jarvis, P., Linder, S. Constraints to growth of boreal forests. Nature 405, 904–905 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35016154
Effects of climatic factors on the net primary productivity in the source region of Yangtze River, China
Scientific Reports (2021)
Comparison of the responses of radial growth to climate change for two dominant coniferous tree species in the eastern Qilian Mountains, northwestern China
International Journal of Biometeorology (2021)
Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations correlate with declining nutritional status of European forests
Communications Biology (2020)
Nature Climate Change (2019)
Journal of Arid Land (2019)