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Retrospective analysis of tree architecture in silver fir (Abies alba Mill.): ontogenetic trends and responses to environmental variability

Taugourdeau O., Dauzat J., Griffon S., Sabatier S.A., Caraglio Y., Barthélémy D.. 2012. Annals of Forest Science, 69 (6) : p. 713-721.

DOI: 10.1007/s13595-012-0188-1

Context Understanding the effects of exogenous factors on tree development is ofmajor importance in the current context of global change. Assessing the structure development of trees is difficult given that they are large and complex organisms with lifespan of several decades. & Aims We used a retrospective analysis to derive the ontogenetic trends in silver fir development and assess the effects of climate or light environment on tree architecture. & Methods Thanks to the identification of relevant growth markers (bud cataphylls and pseudo-whorl branches), a retrospective analysis allowed to record annual shoot extension and to date them on silver firs of various sizes under different environmental conditions. & Results The length of successive annual shoots located on different axes clearly show gradual trends related to the physiological age of meristems. Within- and between-tree variations are noted due to the plasticity of development and growth induced by light environment and climate. & Conclusion Retrospective analysis is an efficient method for getting information on the history of trees architecture and subsequently to relate it to environmental factors.

Mots-clés : picea abies; développement biologique; anatomie végétale; port de la plante; modèle mathématique; changement climatique; facteur climatique; facteur du milieu; ontologie; adaptation; provence-alpes-côte d'azur; région méditerranéenne; france; architecture des arbres

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