Dendroclimatic analysis of Pinus peuce Griseb. at subalpine and treeline locations in Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria

Nikolay Zafirov, Momchil Panayotov, Nickolay Tsvetanov, Ivona Nikolchova, Valerie Trouet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tree rings are a natural archive containing valuable information about environmental changes. Among the most sensitive ecosystems to such changes are high-mountain forests. Tree-ring series from such locations are exceptionally valuable both for climate reconstructions and for studying the effects of climate changes on forest ecosystems. The objective of our study is to present new long tree-ring width chronologies of Pinus peuce Griseb. from several locations at Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, to explore their correlation with monthly temperatures and precipitation in the research area and to assess their potential for climate reconstruction. We built three long-term index chronologies for the radial increment of P. peuce from treeline locations in the study region. The longest chronology spans 675 years. We studied the impact of monthly air temperature and precipitation on its growth for the past 86 years using multiple regression analysis. Our analysis shows that P. peuce growth is positively influenced by high temperatures at the end of the previous growing season, especially at the two sites in Banderitsa valley until the middle of the 1970s, and negatively affected by cold winters. In some of the sample plots its growth was also positively correlated with high summer temperatures. However, even at these high altitudes in some of the locations on steep slopes P. peuce showed signs of negative impact of drought during the hottest summer months (especially in August). Our chronologies contribute to the paleoclimatic record for southwestern Bulgaria, which could provide baseline information about past climate variability and improve our understanding of current and future environmental changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125703
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Climate impact
  • Pinus peuce Griseb.
  • Time series
  • Tree-ring width

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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