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Publication Information

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Title: Age-related changes in tree growth and physiology

Author: Groover, Andrew;

Date: 2017

Source: eLS. 1-7

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Trees pass through specific developmental phases as they age, including juvenile to adult, and vegetative to reproductive phases. The timing of these transitions is regulated genetically but is also highly influenced by the environment. Tree species have evolved different strategies and life histories that affect how they age – for example some pioneer species are fast growing and become sexually mature at younger ages but have shorter life spans. Trees do not have a strictly programmed senescence, and their life span is influenced by factors including challenges associated with increasing size, and ability to cope with environmental stress such as water availability, rot fungi, insects and disease pressure. Some long-lived tree species escape threats in exceptionally dry environments, while others use clonal reproduction through sprouts from stumps or roots to enable the same genotype to persist for thousands of years. On longer timescales, tree species migrate across landscapes to suitable environments.

Keywords: climate change, forests, forest mortality, tree physiology, tree development

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Groover, Andrew 2017. Age-related changes in tree growth and physiology. eLS. 1-7


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