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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Aug;16(8):412-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.05.001.

Tree seasonality in a warming climate.

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Plant Ecophysiology and Climate Change Group, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Climate warming has increased researchers' interest in plant phenology and its modelling. Although the main focus is on projections of accelerated springtime phenological events, also a further extension of the growing season by delayed growth cessation is often projected. However, ecophysiological studies indicate that, for boreal and temperate trees, such generalisations are precluded owing to differential climatic conditions and inter- and intraspecific genetic differences. The annual cycle of these trees is an integrated system, where one phase affects subsequent phases, resulting in delayed impacts, which are only partially addressed in current ecophysiological models. Here, we outline an updated integrated conceptual model of the annual cycle by identifying ecophysiological phenomena that are particularly significant under climate warming.

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