Main content area

Changes in the canopies of Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies under alkaline dust impact in the industrial region of Northeast Estonia

Ots, Katri, Indriksons, Aigars, Varnagiryte-Kabasinskiene, Iveta, Mandre, Malle, Kuznetsova, Tatjana, Klõšeiko, Jaan, Tilk, Mari, Kõresaar, Kadri, Lukjanova, Aljona, Kikamägi, Karin
Forest ecology and management 2011 v.262 no.2 pp. 82-87
Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, biomass, canopy, cement, conifer needles, national parks, pollution load, shoots, soil, temperature, understory, Estonia
Studies were carried out in 1999, 2005 and 2007 in the area of Kunda cement plant in Northeast Estonia on sample plots 3km W and 2.5 and 5km E of Kunda. As control stands, two plots for pine and spruce were established in Lahemaa National Park (34–38km W of Kunda). The selected pine and spruce stands were 75–85-year-old Myrtillus site type, of 0.7–0.8 density and II quality class, with moderately dense or sparse understorey. The values concerning needle density and number of needle scars were higher for shoots formed in the period of higher pollution than for the shoots grown under a considerably lower pollution load. Although the cement dust pollution has notably decreased from year to year, the number of needle pairs per 1cm of the shoot was 1.8–2.1 times greater in the shoots formed in 1998 than in those formed in 2003, whereas the changes were statistically reliable. Possibly the low temperatures at the time of shoot and needle formation affected the density of needles on all sample plots, and thus the number of needles on shoots formed in 2003 was many times smaller. After the significant fall in the pollution load since 1996 the length growth of needles intensified around Kunda cement plant, at the same time no changes occurred in the length growth of needles in the control area. As compared to the data from 1998, the length growth of pine needles had improved, especially 2.5 and 5km E from the cement plant, needles being respectively 1.5 and 1.1cm longer than 6 years ago. The stimulation of the growth of pine and spruce needles 2.5 and 5km E of the cement plant may be a sign of a positive effect of reduced doses of cement dust in soil. The greater length of pine and spruce needles is the reason for the larger biomass of the needles.