Factors affecting cone production in Pinus pinaster Ait.: lack of growth-reproduction trade-offs but significant effects of climate and tree and stand characteristics
Aim of study: Our main goal is to determine the relationship between cone production and radial growth in Pinus pinaster Ait. under different climatic conditions across the Iberian Peninsula.
Area of study: Coca Intensive Sampling Plateau, Northern Plateau (Spain).
Material and methods: Cone counts were conducted on an intensive monitoring plot in Coca (North-Central Spain) during the years 2000, 2006 and 2007. A ZIP (zero-inflated Poisson) model was adjusted for simultaneously estimating the probability of obtaining crop cones and its amount. The Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index was used as explanatory variable, together with a wide variety of tree and local stand variables. Climate (as evaluated by NAO), local stand density (here estimated from the six nearest trees), tree size and vigor, competition and growth efficiency significantly influenced both occurrence and intensity of cone production.
Main results: ZIP models for predicting reproductive effort seems an adequate tool to predict reproductive responses to climatic fluctuations and the resulting future species distribution in the face of climate change, as well as to identify silviculture actions that would promote reproductive success in naturally-regenerated stands, list and discuss relevant results (including numeric values of experimental results).
Research highlights: Climate, stand density and tree conditions (size and vigor, competition and growth efficiency) influence significantly both cone occurrence and intensity of fruiting as shown by a ZIP model. As the climate variables included in the model (based on Northern Atlantic Oscillation, NAO) are general and easily obtained, the proposed model has practical applicability to predicting Pinus pinaster cone production in the Iberian Peninsula.
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