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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Inter-annual and decadal changes in teleconnections drive continental-scale synchronization of tree reproduction

Ascoli, Davide; Vacchiano, Giorgio; Turco, Marco; Conedera, Marco; Drobyshev, Igor; Maringer, Janet; Motta, Renzo; Hacket-Pain, Andrew


Climate teleconnections drive highly variable and synchronous seed production (masting) over large scales. Disentangling the effect of high-frequency (inter-annual variation) from low-frequency (decadal trends) components of climate oscillations will improve our understanding of masting as an ecosystem process. Using century-long observations on masting (the MASTREE database) and data on the Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), we show that in the last 60 years both high-frequency summer and spring NAO, and low-frequency winter NAO components are highly correlated to continent-wide masting in European beech and Norway spruce. Relationships are weaker (non-stationary) in the early twentieth century. This finding improves our understanding on how climate variation affects large-scale synchronization of tree masting. Moreover, it supports the connection between proximate and ultimate causes of masting: indeed, large-scale features of atmospheric circulation coherently drive cues and resources for masting, as well as its evolutionary drivers, such as pollination efficiency, abundance of seed dispersers, and natural disturbance regimes.

Published in

Nature Communications
2017, Volume: 8, article number: 2205

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Climate Research

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