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