The impact of winter and spring temperatures on temperate tree budburst dates : results from an experimental climate manipulation
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Engineering sciences. Technology
, p. 1-9
University of Antwerp
Budburst phenology is a key driver of ecosystem structure and functioning, and it is sensitive to global change. Both cold winter temperatures (chilling) and spring warming (forcing) are important for budburst. Future climate warming is expected to have a contrasting effect on chilling and forcing, and subsequently to have a non-linear effect on budburst timing. To clarify the different effects of warming during chilling and forcing phases of budburst phenology in deciduous trees, (i) we conducted a temperature manipulation experiment, with separate winter and spring warming treatments on well irrigated and fertilized saplings of beech, birch and oak, and (ii) we analyzed the observations with five temperature-based budburst models (Thermal Time model, Parallel model, Sequential model, Alternating model, and Unified model). The results show that both winter warming and spring warming significantly advanced budburst date, with the combination of winter plus spring warming accelerating budburst most. As expected, all three species were more sensitive to spring warming than to winter warming. Although the different chilling requirement, the warming sensitivity was not significantly different among the studied species. Model evaluation showed that both one- and two- phase models (without and with chilling, respectively) are able to accurately predict budburst. For beech, the Sequential model reproduced budburst dates best. For oak and birch, both Sequential model and the Thermal Time model yielded good fit with the data but the latter was slightly better in case of high parameter uncertainty. However, for late-flushing species, the Sequential model is likely be the most appropriate to predict budburst data in a future warmer climate.