iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Disentangling the effects of age and global change on Douglas fir growth

Dario Ravaioli (1)   , Fabrizio Ferretti (2), Federico Magnani (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 246-253 (2019)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2620-012
Published: May 03, 2019 - Copyright © 2019 SISEF

Research Articles

Recent changes commonly observed in forests growth could be the result of a combination of different climatic and non-climatic factors, such as rising atmospheric [CO2], temperature changes, atmospheric N deposition and drought stress. These effects are difficult to assess, however, due to the superimposition of age-related changes. After removing age effects through a novel approach, this study quantifies the effects on tree growth of global change, and assesses the relationship with individual environmental drivers and their relative importance. Generalized Additive Mixed Models (GAMMs) were applied to decouple the non-linear effects of age and co-occurring environmental changes on basal area increments (BAI) series, as derived from tree rings in a Pseudotsuga menziesii stand chronosequence of four different age classes (65-, 80-, 100- and 120-year-old). The model could explain about 57% of the overall variation in BAI as a function of age and a selected set of predictors, including water availability in the current summer and at the end of previous growing season; together with age, winter-spring mean temperature was found to be the most important predictor. After accounting for age-related effects, a significant decrease in BAI was observed in Douglas fir over the last decades. No significant impact of atmospheric [CO2] and atmospheric N deposition were detected.


Pseudotsuga menziesii, Basal Area Increments, Long-term Trends, Global Change, GAMM, Chronosequence

Authors’ address

Dario Ravaioli 0000-0002-2115-248X
Federico Magnani 0000-0003-4479-0916
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna, via Fanin 44, I-40127 Bologna (Italy)
Fabrizio Ferretti 0000-0002-0604-5336
CREA Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, v.le Santa Margherita 80, I-52100 Arezzo (Italy)

Corresponding author

Dario Ravaioli


Ravaioli D, Ferretti F, Magnani F (2019). Disentangling the effects of age and global change on Douglas fir growth. iForest 12: 246-253. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2620-012

Academic Editor

Marco Borghetti

Paper history

Received: Sep 01, 2017
Accepted: Mar 11, 2019

First online: May 03, 2019
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2019
Publication Time: 1.77 months

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