, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 611–618

Biomass distribution of different-aged needles in young and old Pinus cembra trees at highland and lowland sites

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00468-006-0076-0

Cite this article as:
Li, M., Kräuchi, N. & Dobbertin, M. Trees (2006) 20: 611. doi:10.1007/s00468-006-0076-0


Conifer needles of different ages perform differently in ecophysiology. However, no study has investigated the biomass distribution of different-aged needles in a tree crown or/and a stand canopy. We carried out a study on young (∼50 years old) and old (∼200 years) Pinus cembra L. trees at highland (2100–2300 m a.s.l.) and lowland (570 m) sites in Switzerland. We found that both the young and the old trees living in the highlands had more needle biomass per tree than the same-aged trees of the same species living in the lowlands. This is mainly due to the greater longevity of needles in highland trees. It reflects the strategic responses of trees to low resource availability or high abiotic stress level. Having older needles increases the time that nutrients are resident in trees in less favorable environments, and compensates for shorter growing period in cold temperatures.


Age-dependentElevational gradientLeaf longevityNeedle biomass allocationPine

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mai-He Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norbert Kräuchi
    • 1
  • Matthias Dobbertin
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Ecosystems and Ecological RisksSwiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ConservancyChengduChina