Abstract: Background, aim, and scope Western Liaoning is located in the northeastern part of the agro-pastoral ecotone where a region influenced by global climate change in China. The relationships between radial growth of planted Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) and climate factors were analyzed by using tree-ring width index and meteorological data in western Liaoning. This study is of great significance for the management and maintenance of the planted P. tabuliformis forest under the context of continuous warming. Materials and methodsThe tree-ring chronology was developed form cores of planted Chinese pine for western Liaoning. The correlations between the chronology and temperature, precipitation, scPDSI and threshold temperatures were calculated during the period from 1983 to 2012, and the variations of tree-ring width were verified by V-S model simulation. Results The standardized chronology of P. tabuliformis showed a negative correlation with the temperature in previous July, September and current May, with a correlation coefficient of -0.457, -0.426 and -0.471 (p<0.05), and a positive correlation with the precipitation in current May, with a correlation coefficient of 0.52 (p<0.05). The chronology was positively correlated with scPDSI on the monthly scale. Radial growth of P. tabuliformis was negatively correlated with accumulated temperature and duration of different threshold temperatures during the current growth period. The minimum temperature of 11℃ had a great influence on pines. The correlation coefficients between tree-ring index and its initial date sequence, accumulated temperature and duration were 0.663, -0.619 and -0.732 (p<0.01), respectively. The V-S model results showed that P. tabuliformis was sensitive to 9℃ in spring and 9.5℃ in autumn. The current growth season occurred from April to October, and the variability of growth rate was affected by both temperature and soil moisture. Discussion Drought stress was the main factor limiting the response of P. tabuliformis growth to climate. This response pattern was confirmed by positive correlations of the tree-ring chronology with moisture condition including precipitation and scPDSI, and negative correlations with temperature condition including accumulated temperature and duration. The results of the V-S model demonstrated the similar growth-climate relationship. Conclusions The radial growth of planted P. tabuliformis in western Liaoning was dominated by moisture stress during the growth season. Longer growth period and more accumulated temperature caused by increasing temperatures in spring and autumn could enhance the risk of radial growth of Chinese pine planted in study area. Recommendations and perspectivesThe response pattern of P. tabuliformis to different climate factors should be considered in the management and nurturing of planted Chinese pine forest in western Liaoning, and the reasonable allocation of water and heat should be paid more attention to improve the quality of ecological effect.
Keywords: climate response; planted <italic>Pinus tabulaeformis</italic>; growth period parameters; V-S model