Assessing responses of betula papyrifera to climate variability in a remnant population along the niobrara river valley in nebraska, U.S.A., through dendroecological and remote-sensing techniques

E. Bumann, T. Awada, B. Wardlow, M. Hayes, J. Okalebo, C. Helzer, A. Mazis, J. Hiller, P. Cherubini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Remnant populations of Betula papyrifera Marshall have persisted in the Great Plains after the Wisconsin Glaciation along the Niobrara River Valley, Nebraska. Population health has declined in recent years, which has been hypothesized to be due to climate change. We used dendrochronological techniques to assess the response of B. papyrifera to microclimate (1950– 2014) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from satellite imagery (Landsat 5 TM (1985–2011) and MODIS (2000–2014)) as a proxy for population health. Growing-season streamflow and precipitation were positively correlated with raw and standardized tree-ring widths and basal area increment increase. Increasing winter and spring temperatures were unfavorable for tree growth, while increasing summer temperatures were favorable in the absence of drought. The strongest predictor for standardized tree rings was the Palmer Drought Severity Index, suggesting that B. papyrifera is highly responsive to a combination of temperature and water availability. The NDVI from the vegetation community was positively correlated with standardized tree-ring growth, indicating the potential of these techniques to be used as a proxy for ex situ monitoring of B. papyrifera. These results aid in forecasting the dynamics of the species in the face of climate variability and change in both remnant populations and across its current distribution in northern latitudes of North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-433
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Landsat
  • MODIS
  • NDVI
  • Nebraska sandhills
  • Paper birch
  • Riparian
  • Temperature
  • Tree rings
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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