Table of Contents
ISRN Forestry
Volume 2013, Article ID 201360, 15 pages
Research Article

Vulnerability of Trees to Climate Events in Temperate Forests of West Germany

1Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany
2DeLaWi Tree-Ring Analysis, Preschlinallee 2, 51570 Windeck, Germany

Received 30 November 2012; Accepted 20 December 2012

Academic Editors: M. S. Di Bitetti, M. Kanashiro, F. Le Tacon, and P. Newton

Copyright © 2013 Stefanie Fischer and Burkhard Neuwirth. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An improved understanding of the spatiotemporal climate/growth relationship of our forests is of particular importance for assessing the consequences of climate warming. A total of 67 stands of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.), sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and spruce (Picea abies Karst.) from sites located in the transition zone from the lowlands to the low mountain ranges of West Germany have been analysed. A combination of pointer year and cluster analysis was used to find groups with similar growth anomaly patterns over the 1941–2000 period. Shifted reaction patterns especially characterise differences in the growth behaviour of the clusters. These are controlled by different reactions to the climate conditions in winter and spring and are determined by a complex system of forcing factors. Results of this study reflect the enormous importance of the length of the growing season. Increasing the duration of the vegetation period climate warming can change the climate/growth relationship of trees, thereby confounding climate reconstructions which use tree rings. Since forcing factors have been detected that are more important than the tree species, we recommend the application of growth-specific approaches for the analysis of tree species’ vulnerability to climate.