This paper documents a pilot study investigating the potential use of pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla Torr. & Frem) growing in the White Mountains of eastern California for climate reconstructions. The single-leaf pinyon pine from this study exhibit a significant and stable relationship with annual (August–July) precipitation over the instrumental record (r = 0.69). This relationship is stronger than that of the lower forest border bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) growing nearby. Spatially, the climate-growth relationship remains strong beyond this localized region, extending over Southern California. Although pinyon pine is not as long lived as the bristlecone pine, these results indicate that the strength of the climate-growth relationship makes this species valuable in developing climate reconstructions in the future. Additionally, the presence of persistent remnant wood at all sampling sites offers an opportunity to extend pinyon records further back in time. Furthermore, the close proximity of pinyon pine to bristlecone pine at these sites presents the possibility of developing multi-species reconstructions using both species.
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Vol. 73 • No. 1