Multi-species tree growth response to climate change in southwestern Germany
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Central Europe has been affected by unprecedented summer droughts in the 21st century, resulting in large-scale forest decline that has impacted many native tree species. Growth analyses of multiple tree species from mid to low elevation in Europe remain sparse, despite decades of dendroclimatological studies, and limit our understanding of how forests will evolve under changing climate conditions. Here, we introduce a new multi-species tree-ring width network of 65 individual sites (>2500 trees) from southwestern Germany and assess the climate sensitivity of major European species (Abies, Picea, Pinus, Pseudotsuga, and Quercus genera). Early spring temperature and mid-summer drought conditions were identified as regional climatic drivers of forest growth. The dense network also provides new in-sights into local- and species-specific climate-growth relationships and outlines a warming-induced shift in climate sensitivity towards greater water dependence at the end of the 20th century. Our findings highlight the usefulness of multi-species approaches in evaluating future changes to Central European forests and management strategies.