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Wood formation is the primary biological process through which carbon is durably sequestered in woody plants, and is thus a major contributor to mitigate climate change. We analyzed the tree growth patterns of four conifer species across the Iberian Peninsula (IP) based on a dense dendrochronological network (179 sites) combined with a high resolution climate dataset. Generalized linear-mixed models were used to predict the potential tree growth of different pine species under different climate conditions considering different age classes. We found a strong age dependency of tree growth, significant variations across the climate gradients, and a significant interaction of both age and climate effects on the four species considered. Overall, Pinus halepensis was the species with the highest climate sensitivity and the highest growth rates in all age classes and across its distribution area. Due to its stronger plastic character and its potential adaptability, Pinus halepensis was demonstrated to be the most suitable species in terms of tree growth and potentiality to enhance carbon sequestration in the IP. Since its potential distribution largely exceeds its actual distribution, P. halepensis arises as a key species to cope with future climate conditions and to keep fixing carbon regardless of the climatic circumstances.

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