• climate-change impacts;
  • climate response functions;
  • microevolution;
  • population adaptation;
  • genetic responses to climate;
  • predicting responses to change

Abstract Five population-specific response functions were developed from quadratic models for 110 populations of Pinus sylvestris growing at 47 planting sites in Eurasia and North America. The functions predict 13 year height from climate: degree-days > 5 °C; mean annual temperature; degree-days < 0 °C; summer-winter temperature differential; and a moisture index, the ratio of degree-days > 5 °C to mean annual precipitation. Validation of the response functions with two sets of independent data produced for all functions statistically significant simple correlations with coefficients as high as 0.81 between actual and predicted heights. The response functions described the widely different growth potentials typical of natural populations and demonstrated that these growth potentials have different climatic optima. Populations nonetheless tend to inhabit climates colder than their optima, with the disparity between the optimal and inhabited climates becoming greater as the climate becomes more severe. When driven by a global warming scenario of the Hadley Center, the functions described short-term physiologic and long-term evolutionary effects that were geographically complex. The short-term effects should be negative in the warmest climates but strongly positive in the coldest. Long-term effects eventually should ameliorate the negative short-term impacts, enhance the positive, and in time, substantially increase productivity throughout most of the contemporary pine forests of Eurasia. Realizing the long-term gains will require redistribution of genotypes across the landscape, a process that should take up to 13 generations and therefore many years.