Research article

Wood density variations of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) under contrasting climate conditions in southwestern Germany

Marieke van der Maaten-Theunissen , Simon Boden, Ernst van der Maaten

Marieke van der Maaten-Theunissen
Institute for Forest Growth, Albert-Ludwigs- University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany. Email: marieketheunissen@gmail.com
Simon Boden
Institute for Forest Growth, Albert-Ludwigs- University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Ernst van der Maaten
Institute for Forest Growth, Albert-Ludwigs- University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany

Online First: November 12, 2012
van der Maaten-Theunissen, M., Boden, S., van der Maaten, E. 2012. Wood density variations of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) under contrasting climate conditions in southwestern Germany. Annals of Forest Research 56(1): 91-103.


We analyzed inter-annual variations in ring width and maximum wood density of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) at different altitudes in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany, to determine the climate response of these parameters under contrasting climate conditions. In addition, we compared maximum, average and minimum wood density between sites. Bootstrapped correlation coefficients of ring width and maximum wood density with monthly temperature and precipitation, revealed a different climate sensitivity of both parameters. Ring width showed strong correlations with climate variables in the previous year and in the first half of the growing season. Further, a negative relationship with summer temperature was observed at the low-altitude sites. Maximum wood density correlated best with temperature during the growing season, whereby strongest correlations were found between September temperature and maximum wood density at the high-altitude sites. Observed differences in maximum, average and minimum wood density are suggested to relate to the local climate; with lower temperatures and higher water availability having a negative effect on wood density. 

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