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Climate variability impacts on growth of African grape (Lannea microcarpa Engl & K. Krause) in West Africa

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Lannea microcarpa is a deciduous tree with high socio-economic value in West African agroforestry systems. While climate-growth relationships remain unknown, this species is exposed to climate extremes. Knowledge of its response to climate variations is needed for its sustainable management. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the growth of Lannea microcarpa in two climatic zones in West Africa (Sudanian zone of Mali and Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso) using standard dendrochronological methods. In both sites, Lannea microcarpa forms distinct growth ring-boundaries characterized by a wider band with more parenchyma cell rows and is also marked by its solitary vessels. The two standard chronologies developed were significantly correlated with the precipitation records in both Burkina Faso (r2 = 0.41, n = 30 years, p < 0.01) and Mali (r2 =0.60, n = 53 years, p < 0.001). Furthermore, a strong relationship between major seasonal precipitation (between June and September) and residual chronology was observed in Burkina Faso (r2 = 0.51, n = 28 years, p < 0.01) and Mali (r2 = 0.65, n = 52 years, p < 0.001). The formation of annual growth rings is clearly influenced by climate variability, but not all variance is accounted for. The insignificant correlation between the chronologies of the two regions may be due to various factors, including differences in climate factors and soil conditions influencing buffered water availability. Similar studies on other tree species in West Africa will be useful.

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