Effects of air pollution and droughts on forest condition in Lithuania
ISSN 13920146. 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) 7580% 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 19901998 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).
defoliation, drought, hydrothermal coefficient, air pollution
INTRODUCTIONOver 180 hypotheses were proposed to explain thereasons of forest decline . According to most of them, air pollution might cause defoliation and yel-lowing of leaves and needles. For example, Manion and Evans  suggested that the oxidation of SO
to strong acids might directly destroythe leaf cuticle and thus cause damage to trees.Smith  discussed SO
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 . To the hypotheses mentioned above,unfavorable weather conditions, especially drought,could also be added . Some authors suggestedthat pest infestations or fungi attacks followingdrought periods cause the overall deterioration of forest health . A single factor cannot cause treehealth decline. Air pollution is considered as one of the predisposing and inciting factors . 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 19861995, pollution distribution maps of Europe werecompiled and the loads for each Pan-European per-manent observation plot (POP) within the forestmonitoring network were calculated .
MATERIALS AND METHODS
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. 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 . Crowndefoliation is one of the most important tree condi-tion indicators. Special research indicates a closeinverse correlation r = (0.80.9) between the foli-age mass and crown defoliation .Changes of air pollution in Lithuania were de-fined by the use of primary energy sources. Duringthe period of 19881991, the consumption of fuel was at its maximum, and in 19941996 the stabili-zation of the amounts consumed was followed by asudden decrease of fuel consumption . 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 . A decrease of sulphate con-centrations in atmospheric precipitation can be re-lated to a decrease of SO
emissions in WesternEurope. Meanwhile, NO