Plant and Soil

, Volume 370, Issue 1–2, pp 103–113 | Cite as

The influence of alkaline and non-alkaline parent material on Norway spruce tree chemical composition and growth rate

  • Jenny L. K. Vestin
  • Ulf Söderberg
  • Dan Bylund
  • Kei Nambu
  • Patrick A. W. van Hees
  • Edith Haslinger
  • Franz Ottner
  • Ulla S. Lundström
Regular Article


Background and aims

This study investigated the influence of contrasting parent materials on tree chemical composition and growth rate under field conditions. On the island of Alnö, Sweden, alkaline intrusions are interspersed into non-alkaline gneiss bedrock, which provides a unique opportunity to conduct this study with a minimum of confounding effects.


Three plots with alkaline and three plots with non-alkaline parent material were established in a homogenous Norway spruce stand. The chemical composition of soil and soil solution was determined throughout the soil profiles. The chemical composition of bark, wood and needles was determined for each plot, and the latest 5 year basal area growth increment calculated.


Concentrations of Ca in needles were correlated with the soil exchangeable Ca levels. Tree growth rate was significantly higher on the alkaline plots and positively correlated with soil concentrations of Ca, Mg, P, and Zn. The tree growth rate also tended to correlate with soil N concentrations, but levelled out for the highest soil N concentrations.


Tree growth was enhanced on the alkaline plots and was correlated with several elements. However, none of these elements could be confirmed as the limiting one for tree growth at the current site.


Needles Nutrients Soil solution Tree growth 



This project was funded by The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS). S.J.M. Holmström and L. Wiklund are thanked for laboratory work.


  1. Ågren GI (1985) Theory for growth of plants derived from the nitrogen productivity concept. Physiol Plant 64:17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ågren GI (2004) The C:N:P stoichiometry of autotrophs - theory and observations. Ecol Lett 7:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akselsson C, Westling O, Alveteg M, Thelin G, Fransson A-M, Hellsten S (2008) The influence of n load and harvest intensity on the risk of P limitation in Swedish forest soils. Sci Total Environ 404:284–289PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Assmann E (1970) The principles of forest yield study. Studies in the Organic Production, Structure, Increment and Yield of Forest stands. Pergamon Press Ltd, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer G, Schulze E-D, Mund M (1997) Nutrient contents and concentrations in relation to growth of Picea abies and Fagus sylvatica along a European transect. Tree Physiol 17:777–786PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Drake JE, Davis SC, Raetz LM, DeLucia EH (2011) Mechanisms of age-related changes in forest production: the influence of physiological and succesional changes. Glob Chang Biol 17:1522–1535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Emmett BA, Reynolds PA, Stevens PA, Norris DA, Hughes S, Görres J, Lubrecht I (1993) Nitrate leaching from afforested Welsh catchments- Interactions between stand age and nitrogen deposition. Ambio 22:386–394Google Scholar
  8. FAO (1998) Topsoil characterization for sustainable land management. Land and Water Development Division (Draft). Soil Resources, Management and Conservation Service. RomeGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO, ISRIC & ISSS (1998) World Reference Base for Soil Resources. World Soil Resources Reports 84. International Society of Soil ScienceGoogle Scholar
  10. Gadd GM (2007) Geomycology: biogeochemical transformations of rocks, minerals and radionuclide by fungi, bioweathering and bioremediation. Mycol Res 111:3–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gundersen P, Emmett BA, Kjøaas OJ, Koopmans CJ, Tietema A (1998) Impact of nitrogen deposition on nitrogen cycling in forests: a synthesis of NITREX data. Forest Ecol Manag 101:37–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gustavsson J-P, van Hees P, Starr M, Karltun E, Lundström U (2000) Partitioning of base cations and sulphate between solid and dissolved phases in three podzolised forest soils. Geoderma 94:311–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamel B, Bélanger N, Paré D (2004) Productivity of black spruce and Jack pine stands in Quebec as related to climate, site biological features and soil properties. Forest Ecol Manag 191:239–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hamilton GJ, Christie JM (1974) Influence of spacing on crop characteristics and yield. For Comm Bull 52:91ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Harrison AF, Stevens PA, Dighton J, Quarmby C, Dickinson AL, Jones HE, Howard DM (1995) The critical load of nitrogen for Sitka spruce forests on stagnopodsols in Wales: role of nutrient limitations. Forest Ecol Manag 76:139–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haslinger E (2004) Mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of soils of the Alnö Carbonatite Complex, Sweden. Dissertation, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences. Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  17. Haslinger E, Ottner F, Lundström US (2007) Pedogenesis in the Alnö carbonatite complex, Sweden. Geoderma 142:127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoffland E, Kuyper TW, Wallander H, Plassard C, Gorbushina AA, Haselwandter K, Holmstrom S, Landeweert R, Lundstrom US, Rosling A, Sen R, Smits MM, van Hees PA, van Breemen N (2004) The role of fungi in weathering. Front Ecol Environ 2:258–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huntington TG (2005) Assessment of calcium status in Maine forests: review and future projection. Can J Forest Res 35:1109–1121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ilg K, Wellbrock N, Lux W (2009) Phosphorus supply and cycling at long-term forest monitoring sites in Germany. Eur J Forest Res 128:483–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ilvesniemi H, Giesler R, van Hees P, Magnusson T, Melkerud P-A (2000) General description of the sampling techniques and the sites investigated in the Fennoscandinavian podzolization project. Geoderma 94:109–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ingestad T (1979) Mineral nutrient requirements of Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies seedlings. Physiol Plant 45:373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacobson S (2003) Addition of stabilized wood ashes to Swedish coniferous stands on mineral soils – effects on stem growth and needle nutrient concentrations. Silva Fenn 37:437–450Google Scholar
  24. Jandl R, Herzberger E (2001) Is soil chemistry an indicator of tree nutrition and stand productivity? Die Bodenkultur 52:155–163Google Scholar
  25. Jandl R, Alewll C, Prietzel J (2004) Calcium loss in European forest soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:588–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jokela EJ, White EH, Berglund JV (1988) Predicting Norway spruce growth from soil and topographic properties in New York. Soil Sci Soc Am J 52:809–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jongmans AG, van Breemen N, Lundström U, van Hees PAW, Finlay RD, Srinivasan M, Unestam T, Giesler R, Melkerud PA, Olsson M (1997) Rock-eating fungi. Nature 389:682–683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kayahara GJ, Carter RE, Klinka K (1995) Site index of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) in relation to soil nutrient and foliar chemical measures. Forest Ecol Manag 74:161–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ladanai S, Ågren GI, Olsson BA (2010) Relationships between tree and soil properties in Pices abies and Pinus sylvestris forests in Sweden. Ecosystems 13:302–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Likens GE, Driscoll CT, Buso DC, Siccama TG, Johnson CE, Lovett GM, Fahey TJ, Reiners WA, Ryan DF, Martin CW, Bailey SW (1998) The biochemistry of calcium at Hubbard Brook. Biogeochemistry 41:89–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linder S (1995) Foliar analysis for detecting and correcting nutrient imbalances in Norway spruce. Ecol Bull 44:178–190Google Scholar
  32. Lundström US, Bain DC, Taylor AFS, van Hees PAW (2003) Effects of acidification and its mitigation with lime and wood ash on forest soil processes: A review. Water Air Soil Poll Focus 3:5–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McLaughlin SB, Wimmer R (1999) Calcium physiology and terrestrial ecosystem processes. New Phytol 142:373–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Melkerud P-A, Bain DC, Jongmans AG, Tarvainen T (2000) Chemical, mineralogical and morphological characterization of three podzols developed on glacial deposits in Northern Europe. Geoderma 94:125–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Merilä P, Derome J (2008) Relationships between needle nutrient composition in Scots pine and Norway spruce stands and the respective concentrations in the organic layer and in percolation water. Boreal Environ Res 13(suppl B):35–47Google Scholar
  36. Nambu K, van Hees PAW, Jones DL, Vinogradoff S, Lundström US (2008) Composition of organic solutes and respiration in soils derived from alkaline and non-alkaline parent material. Geoderma 144:468–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nohrstedt H-Ö (2001) Response of coniferous forest ecosystems on mineral soils to nutrient additions: a review of Swedish experiments. Scand J Forest Res 16:555–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nyberg L, Lundström U, Söderberg U, Danielsson R, van Hees P (2001) Does soil acidification affect spruce needle chemical composition and tree growth? Water Air Soil Poll Focus 1:241–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Olsson BA (1999) Effects of biomass removal in thinnings and compensatory fertilization on exchangeable base cation pools in acid forest soils. Forest Ecol Manag 122:29–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Prietzel J, Stetter U (2010) Long-term trends of phosphorus stocks in unfertilized and fertilized Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) stands at two sites in South Germany. Forest Ecol Manag 259:1141–1150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reich PB, Grigal DF, Aber JD, Gower ST (1997) Nitrogen mineralization and productivity in 50 hardwood and conifer stands on diverse soils. Ecology 78:335–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ryan MG, Phillips N, Bond BJ (2006) The hydraulic limitation hypothesis revisited. Plant Cell Environ 29:367–381PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stendahl J, Snäll S, Olsson MT, Holmgren P (2002) Influence of soil mineralogy and chemistry on site quality within geological regions in Sweden. Forest Ecol Manag 170:75–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sverdrup H, Rosen K (1998) Long-term base cation mass balances for Swedish forests and the concept of sustainability. Forest Ecol Manag 110:221–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tamm CO (1991) Nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems. Questions of productivity, vegetational changes and ecosystem stability. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vacek S, Hejcman M, Semelová V, Remes J, Podrázský V (2009) Effect of soil chemical properties on growth, foliation and nutrition of orway spruce stand affected by yellowing in the Bohemian Forest Mts., Czech Republic. Eur J Forest Res 128:367–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. van Breemen N, Lundström US, Jongmans AG (2000) Do plants drive podzolization via rock-eating mycorrizhal fungi? Geoderma 94:163–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vestin JLK, Nambu K, van Hees PAW, Bylund D, Lundström US (2006) The influence of alkaline and non-alkaline parent material on soil chemistry. Geoderma 135:97–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. von Eckermann H (1948) The alkaline district of Alnö island. Sveriges Geologiska undersökning, Avhandlingar o uppsatser i 4.0, Ser. Ca, N:o 36, Esselte AB, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  50. Wang GG, Klinka K (1997) White spruce foliar nutrient concentrations in relation to tree growth and soil nutrient amounts. Forest Ecol Manag 98:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny L. K. Vestin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ulf Söderberg
    • 3
  • Dan Bylund
    • 1
  • Kei Nambu
    • 1
  • Patrick A. W. van Hees
    • 4
  • Edith Haslinger
    • 5
  • Franz Ottner
    • 6
  • Ulla S. Lundström
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Science and DesignMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden
  2. 2.Swedish Geotechnical InstituteSundsvallSweden
  3. 3.Department of Forest Resource ManagementSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUmeåSweden
  4. 4.Eurofins Environment ABLidköpingSweden
  5. 5.Health and Environment DepartmentAIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbHTullnAustria
  6. 6.Institute of Applied GeologyUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life SciencesViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations