Current issue: 57(2)
Under compilation: 57(3)
Forest ecosystems may accumulate large amounts of nitrogen in the biomass and in the soil organic matter. However, there is increasing concern that deposition of inorganic nitrogen compounds from the atmosphere will lead to nitrogen saturation; excess nitrogen input does not increase production. The aim of this study was to determine the long-term changes caused by nitrogen input on accumulation of nitrogen in forest soils and in ground vegetation.
The fertilization experiments used in this study were established during 1958–1962. They were situated on 36- to 63-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stands of different levels of fertility. The experiments received nitrogen fertilization 5–7 times over a 30-year period, and the total input of nitrogen was 596–926 kg/ha.
Nitrogen input increased the amount of organic matter in the humus layer and the nitrogen concentration in the organic matter. Furthermore, the total amount of nutrients (N, P, K, Ca and Mg) bound by the humus layer increased due to the increase in the amount of organic matter. However, nitrogen input decreased the biomass of ground vegetation. The nitrogen concentration of the plant material on the nitrogen-fertilized plots was higher than on the control plots, but the amount of nutrients bound by ground vegetation decreased owing to the drastic decrease in the biomass of mosses. Ground vegetation does not have the potential to accumulate nitrogen, because vegetation is dominated by slow-growing mosses and dwarf shrubs which do not benefit from nitrogen input.
The tolerance of disturbance of the ground and field layer vegetation in a moderately fertile Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) on Oxalis-Myrtillus type forest in Southern Finland was studied. One of the sites, a summer cottage yard had been raked regularly during the last 25 years. The structure of the vegetation was quite different compared to the other sample site situated in a virgin forest. The phytomass and percentual coverage of the vegetation was remarkable lower in the raked habitat. Tall mosses, Pleuroxium schreberi and Hylocomnium splendens had especially disappeared. Most grass shrubs had also deteriorated. Only Deschampsia flexuosa was quite tolerant to raking. The phytomass of the dwarf shrubs was lower in the raked area but their relative production was higher. Three different kinds strategies of species were described: species of virgin shaded forest, species of meadow-like forest floor and species which tolerate or benefit from disturbance. The raked habitat had a higher species diversity than the virgin area. Nitrogen and carbon contents were lower in the soil of the raked area.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
A mature Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand growing on a site of the Vaccinium type in Southern Finland was fertilized with nitrogen-rich NPK fertilizer at a level of 150 kg pure nitrogen per hectare. The sample plots were also irrigated during four growing seasons. The total amount of irrigation during this period was 1,200 mm. Fertilization alone increased the coverage of grasses and dwarf shrubs. The culmination of the increase occurred during the second growing season after the start of the treatment. The rapid effect of irrigation on the coverage of ground vegetation was not so strong as that of fertilization. It was concluded on the basis of the developed growth model that the coverage of dwarf shrubs, especially Calluna vulgaris, was, however, increased with the fertilization treatment for a prolonged period. Fertilization and irrigation had no visible effect on the coverage of lichens and mosses.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Several studies of air polluted forest environments have shown that dwarf shrubs suffer from air pollution. In many cases the disturbances have been attributed to the susceptibility of the dwarf shrubs, while in some cases the vegetational competition factor has been discussed. The growth pattern of dwarf shrubs is very complicated and a single individual can cover large areas due to vegetative reproduction. Since dwarf shrub individuals cannot be transplanted for the purpose of laboratory or field tests, the only possibility is to use small cuttings for the bioindication studies. Some preliminary results are discussed.
In most pine swamp stands on drained peatlands the dwarf-shrubs are rather important biomass producers. The aim of the experiment was to determine the effect of killing off the dwarf-shrub vegetation on the subsequent development of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand. The dwarf-shrub vegetation was killed by means of herbicides. The results show that by removing competition by the dwarf-shrub vegetation on drained pine swamps, it is possible to pass onto the trees at least some of the freed growth potential.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
The study deals with the trampling tolerance of forest vegetation in a Myrtillus type closed forest of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), based on the effects of simulated trampling on the coverage and biomass on the field and between layers of the vegetation. The reliability of the results from the simulated trampling was tested by comparing them with those obtained from real trampling.
According to the results, the trampling tolerance of the bottom layers is greater than that of the field layer. The trampling tolerance of different species varies, so that grasses and dwarf shrubs have a higher tolerance capacity than herbs. Even light trampling of short duration caused noticeable changes in the coverage and biomass of the ground vegetation. Despite certain deficiencies, the simulated trampling gave parallel results of those obtained for real trampling.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
Currently, tools to predict the aboveground and belowground biomass (AGB and BGB) of woody species in Guinean savannas (and the data to calibrate them) are still lacking. Multispecies allometric equations calibrated from direct measurements can provide accurate estimates of plant biomass in local ecosystems and can be used to extrapolate local estimates of carbon stocks to the biome scale. We developed multispecies models to estimate AGB and BGB of trees and multi-stemmed shrubs in a Guinean savanna of Côte d’Ivoire. The five dominant species of the area were included in the study. We sampled a total of 100 trees and 90 shrubs destructively by harvesting their biometric data (basal stem diameter Db, total stem height H, stump area SS, as well as total number of stems n for shrubs), and then measured their dry AGB and BGB. We fitted log-log linear models to predict AGB and BGB from the biometric measurements. The most relevant model for predicting AGB in trees was fitted as follows: AGB = 0.0471 (ρDb2H)0.915 (with AGB in kg and ρDb2H in g cm–1 m). This model had a bias of 19%, while a reference model for comparison (fitted from tree measurements in a similar savanna ecosystem, Ifo et al. 2018) overestimated the AGB of trees of our test savannas by 132%. The BGB of trees was also better predicted from ρDb2H as follows: BGB = 0.0125 (ρDb2H)0.6899 (BGB in kg and ρDb2H in g cm–1 m), with 6% bias, while the reference model had about 3% bias. In shrubs, AGB and BGB were better predicted from ρDb2H together with the total number of stems (n). The best fitted allometric equation for predicting AGB in shrubs was as follows: AGB = 0.0191 (ρDb2H)0.6227 n0.9271. This model had about 1.5% bias, while the reference model overestimated the AGB of shrubs of Lamto savannas by about 79%. The equation for predicting BGB of shrubs is: BGB = 0.0228 (ρDb2H)0.7205 n0.992 that overestimated the BGB of the shrubs of Lamto savannas with about 3% bias, while the reference model underestimated the BGB by about 14%. The reference model misses an important feature of fire-prone savannas, namely the strong imbalance of the BGB/AGB ratio between trees and multi-stemmed shrubs, which our models predict. The allometric equations we developed here are therefore relevant for C stocks inventories in trees and shrubs communities of Guinean savannas.
Dwarf shrub layer is an important component of boreal and hemiboreal forest ecosystems that has received little attention, particularly regarding its structural diversity, which, however, could serve as an additional proxy for habitat quality. Dimensions of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) ramets were assessed in two sites in Latvia covered by dry oligotrophic Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands 10–230 years of age. In total, 20 sampling plots (10×10 m) with 156 subplots (1×1 m) were sampled and 630 bilberry ramets analysed. The dimensions of ramets (age, diameter, and height) and cover of bilberry increased with stand age. The age of the studied ramets ranged 2–13 years; 5–6 years-old ramets were most frequent in all stands. The skewness of the distribution of the ramet dimensions shifted with stand age, leaning towards the higher values. Lower structural diversity of ramets was observed in stands 50–100 years of age. The highest diversity of ramet age structure occurred in stands younger than 150 years, whereas the oldest and largest ramets mostly occurred in the older stands (>150 years). Considering structural diversity of ramets, recovery of bilberry after stand-replacing disturbance (e.g. clearcut) was a continuous process, similarly to that observed in tree layer.
Species-specific allometric equations for shrubs and small trees are relatively scarce, thus limiting the precise quantification of aboveground biomass (AGB) in both shrubby vegetation and forests. Fourteen shrub and small tree species in Eastern China were selected to develop species-specific and multispecies allometric biomass equations. Biometric variables, including the diameter of the longest stem (D), height (H), wet basic density (BD), and crown area and shape were measured for each individual plant. We measured the AGB through a non-destructive method, and validated these measurements using the dry mass of the sampled plant components. The AGB was related to biometric variables using regression analysis. The species-specific allometric models, with D and H as predictors (D-H models) accounted for 70% to 99% of the variation in the AGB of shrubs and small trees. A multispecies allometric D-H model accounted for 71% of the variation in the AGB. Although BD, as an additional predictor, improved the fit of most models, the D-H models were adequate for predicting the AGB for shrubs and small trees in subtropical China without BD data.