Evaluating the potential of red spruce (Picea rubens) to persist under climate change using historic provenance trials

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of New Brunswick


Red spruce (Picea rubens) is an important species in northeastern North America. Climate change impacts on this species are expected to vary regionally. We use two historic provenance trials to evaluate red spruce's capacity to persist under climate change by analyzing measurements of tree height and diameter in relation to differences between provenance origin climate and test site climate. Within the range of climate differentials, warming did not appear to negatively impact red spruce performance, but cooling did affect performance by reducing height and diameter. Warmer temperatures increased tree size, especially for northern provenances, suggesting red spruce at the northern extent of its range is cold suppressed. Furthermore, changes in frost free period and mean annual temperature significantly impacted tree size. Temperature-related climatic factors had stronger effects than moisture-related factors. Our tests of climatic effects on more southerly provenances were limited by lack of sites south of red spruce's range