, Volume 172, Issue 2, pp 235-245

Growth and nutrient characteristics in bog and fen populations of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

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Nutrient content in peat and growth rate, rate of nutrient accumulation and allocation patterns in Scots pine Pinus sylvestris L. from eleven natural Swedish peatlands were examined. The peatlands studied represented a wide range of climatic conditions and mire types. Whole and even-sized pines with intact root-systems were excavated to give the whole-pine budget for growth and nutrient accumulation. All samples originated from hummock communities.

Pine growth and nutrient characteristics were much more variable in the minerogenous sites than in the ombrogenous sites, which indicates a larger environmental heterogeneity within the minerogenous sites. In the ombrogenous sites, rate of pine growth was constant, approximately 1 mg day-1, and independent of latitudinal variation. There was either no relationship between latitudinal location and growth rate in the minerogenous sites, which suggests that pine growth is largely controlled by site-specific, very local conditions. The growth rate of pines was not correlated with any peat nutrient. The pines allocated a large proportion of their nutrient-pool to the metabolically active current year's growth. This is likely a trait that enables Scots pine to occupy a wide range of peatland types in which it experience a marked imbalance and shortage of nutrients.