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Effects on Plants

Effects on Plants

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Published by: Nuthan Kumar on Jul 29, 2012
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Effects of air pollution and droughts on forest condition in Lithuania
ISSN 13920146. Biologija. 2001. Nr. 2
Effects of air pollution and droughts on forestcondition in Lithuania
R. Ozolinèius, V. Stakënas
 Lithuanian Forest Research Institute, Liepø 1, Lt- 4312, Girionys, Kaunas distr., Lithuania
Within the limits of our geographical region (Central Europe  BalticStates  Scandinavia) 7580% of variation in conifer condition of aseparate country can be explained by differences in acidic deposition,meanwhile the HTC has a very little influence. A trend of forest condition improvement in Lithuania is evidentsince 1996 and can be related with a decrease of air pollution. Changesin the number of healthy trees as compared to HTC changes during theperiod 19901998 were slightly reliable (r = 0.52). A correlation be-tween the number of healthy Scots pine trees and the HTC was statis-tically more reliable (r = 0.74).
Key woods:
defoliation, drought, hydrothermal coefficient, air pollution
INTRODUCTIONOver 180 hypotheses were proposed to explain thereasons of forest decline [1]. According to most of them, air pollution might cause defoliation and yel-lowing of leaves and needles. For example, Manion[2] and Evans [3] suggested that the oxidation of SO
and NO
to strong acids might directly destroythe leaf cuticle and thus cause damage to trees.Smith [4] discussed SO
and NO
as responsible foraffecting biochemical pathways and eventualy dam-aging the foliage. Other authors considered an indi-rect effect on tree condition  soil acidification,associated with a decrease in pH and base cationsaturation as well as an increase of the concentra-tion of Al
in the soil, responsible for the recentforest decline, since Al
is very likely to be toxic toplant roots [5]. To the hypotheses mentioned above,unfavorable weather conditions, especially drought,could also be added [6]. Some authors suggestedthat pest infestations or fungi attacks followingdrought periods cause the overall deterioration of forest health [7]. A single factor cannot cause treehealth decline. Air pollution is considered as one of the predisposing and inciting factors [2]. Air pollu-tion from a global point of view is an importantfactor that can influence forest condition.Considering the spatial distribution of pollutants within the territory of Europe the largest amountsare certainly found in Central Europe. After the airpollution analysis in Europe was carried out in 19861995, pollution distribution maps of Europe werecompiled and the loads for each Pan-European per-manent observation plot (POP) within the forestmonitoring network were calculated [7].
The main investigations were carried out accordingto the international manual on methods and criteriafor harmonized sampling, assessment, monitoring andanalysis of the effects on air pollution on forests[8]. The regional forest monitoring system inLithuania is based on systematically selected perma-nent observation plots (POP). The condition of upto 23000 trees was annually evaluated [9]. Crowndefoliation is one of the most important tree condi-tion indicators. Special research indicates a closeinverse correlation r = (0.80.9) between the foli-age mass and crown defoliation [9].Changes of air pollution in Lithuania were de-fined by the use of primary energy sources. Duringthe period of 19881991, the consumption of fuel was at its maximum, and in 19941996 the stabili-zation of the amounts consumed was followed by asudden decrease of fuel consumption [10]. Monitor-ing of sulphur and nitrogen deposition from theatmosphere indicates that during the last years aclear decrease of sulphate concentrations in precipi-tation is observed [11]. A decrease of sulphate con-centrations in atmospheric precipitation can be re-lated to a decrease of SO
emissions in WesternEurope. Meanwhile, NO
and NH
 R. Ozolinèius, V. Stakënas
in atmospheric precipitation have changed insignifi-cantly.The levels of air pollution in European countrieshave been calculated using data published in theEC-UN/ECE reports [7].The hydrothermal coefficient (HTC) of Selianinovhas been chosen for evaluation of hydrothermalconditions:
t R
 were R is the sum of precipitation (mm) during theperiod when the air temperature is above 10 °C,
is the sum of temperatures during the same period.The average annual HTC values (MayAugust) were calculated as the average HTC of allmeteostations of Lithuania.
 A correlation analysis has shown that within thelimits of our geographical region (Central EuropeBaltic States (including Lithuania)  Scandinavia) 7580% of variations in conifer condition of a separatecountry can be explained by the dif-ferences in acid deposition (Figure).Climatic factors evaluated by the hy-drothermal coefficient had very littleinfluence (influence coefficient did notreach 1%).Eevaluation crown defoliationchanges in 19892000 showed theaverage defoliation of all tree speciesin Lithuania was increasing until theperiod 19921993. A tendency of de-foliation decrease appeared in 1996.The trend of forest condition improve-ment in Lithuania since 1996 can be related to adecrease in air pollution as well. Air pollution does not explain the changes of crown defoliation at certain observation plots orsmall regions where air pollution is relatively stable(except cases of local pollution). Now attempts toexplain defoliation changes by the effect of meteoro-logical factors, invasions of pests and diseases aremade [7]. During the first half of the vegetationperiod soil humidity and precipitation are one of the most important factors in the foliage formationin our region. According to the research data [12],assimilation mass of birch stands during individual years fluctuates from 75% to 125% of the average values, and even 91% of the changes can be ex-plained by the effect of meteorological factors. Along with the increase of the amounts of pre-cipitation, the Scots pine defoliation is decreasing[13]. The density of Norway spruce crowns in Nor- way in 1992, compared to the results of 1991, de-creased on average by 1.81% in dry sites and by2.47% in sites unfavourable for spruce [14]. According to our data, changes of the numberof healthy trees (defoliation 010%) compared to
Tree species Site humidity inde
NLUPDHDHDHDH All species0.30.7
N  mineral soils of normal moisture; L  temporarily overmoistured mineral (gleyic) soils; U  permanentlyovermoistured mineral (gley) soils; P  peatland.
Significant at the 0.95 level of probability.Table.
Coefficients of correlation between HTC and tree condition (D  defoliation, H  number of healthy trees)
Figure. Average defoliation of conifers and acid deposition in some Euro-pean countries (19891997)

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