European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 126, Issue 4, pp 495–506 | Cite as

Biomass production, foliar and root characteristics and nutrient accumulation in young silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) stand growing on abandoned agricultural land

  • Veiko UriEmail author
  • Krista Lõhmus
  • Ivika Ostonen
  • Hardi Tullus
  • Renal Lastik
  • Merit Vildo
Original Paper


The above-ground biomass and production, below-ground biomass, nutrient (NPK) accumulation, fine roots and foliar characteristics of a 8-year-old silver birch (Betula pendula) natural stand, growing on abandoned agricultural land in Estonia, were investigated. Total above-ground biomass and current annual production after eight growing seasons was 31.2 and 11.9 t DM ha−1, respectively. The production of stems accounted for 62.4% and below-ground biomass accounted for 19.2% of the total biomass of the stand. Carbon sequestration in tree biomass reaches roughly 17.5 t C ha−1 during the first 8 years. The biomass of the fine roots (d < 2 mm) was 1.7 ± 0.2 t DM ha−1 and 76.2% of it was located in the 20 cm topsoil layer. The leaf area index (LAI) of the birch stand was estimated as 3.7 m2 m−2 and specific leaf area (SLA) 15.0 ± 0.1 m2 kg−1. The impact of the crown layer on SLA was significant as the leaves are markedly thicker in the upper part of the crown compared with the lower part. The short-root specific area (SRA) in the 30 cm topsoil was 182.9 ± 9.5 m2 kg−1, specific root length (SRL), root tissue density (RTD) and the number of short-root tips (>95% ectomycorrhizal) per dry mass unit of short roots were 145.3 ± 8.6 m g−1, 58.6 ± 3.0 kg m−3 and 103.7 ± 5.5 tips mg−1, respectively. In August the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, accumulated in above ground biomass, was 192.6, 25.0 and 56.6 kg ha−1, respectively. The annual flux of N and P retranslocation from the leaves to the other tree parts was 57.2 and 3.7 kg ha−1 yr−1 (55 and 27%), respectively, of which 29.1 kg ha−1 N and 2.8 kg ha−1 P were accumulated in the above-ground part of the stand.


Betula pendula Biomass production Below-ground biomass Foliar characteristics NPK use NP retranslocation 



This study was supported by the Estonian Science Foundation grant No 5748 and 6472. We thank Mrs. Ester Jaigma for revising the English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veiko Uri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Krista Lõhmus
    • 2
  • Ivika Ostonen
    • 2
  • Hardi Tullus
    • 1
  • Renal Lastik
    • 1
  • Merit Vildo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SilvicultureEstonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Forestry and Rural EngineeringTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, University of TartuTartuEstonia

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