Advertisement

Trees

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 237–251 | Cite as

Nitrogen footprint in a long-term observation of forest growth over the twentieth century

  • Jean-Daniel BontempsEmail author
  • Jean-Christophe Hervé
  • Jean-Michel Leban
  • Jean-François Dhôte
Original Paper

Abstract

Environmental drivers of forest productivity increases have been much debated. Evidence for the suggested role of increasing nitrogen supply is lacking over long-term time scales. Tracking the footprint of environmental factors by using long-term growth records may thus prove decisive. We analysed growth chronologies of common beech in two areas of contrasting nutritional status in France. Dominant height growth was used as a proxy for productivity. Growth was compared between old and young paired stands sampled at the same sites to factor out effects of ageing and site. Growth chronologies were estimated with a statistical modelling procedure. The environmental causality of growth changes was addressed by combining (1) a comparison of growth changes between regions, (2) a regional comparison of growth chronologies with chronologies of environmental factors and (3) growth–environment relationships established from climate/soil data. Historical growth increases followed very similar courses in the two areas. Remarkably, the magnitude of change was 50% lower in the area that had reduced nutritional status and nitrogen deposition. Historical variations in environmental factors and growth were congruent with the roles of nitrogen availability and deposition, and of atmospheric CO2 increase. Low-frequency variations in climate and growth were not coincident. However, our analysis demonstrated the role of climatic anomalies in short-term growth variations. Growth–environment relationships further indicated a nitrogen constraint. These observations corroborate the enhancing role of increased nitrogen availability on forest biomass accumulation previously reported in ecosystem experiments and process-based modelling explorations.

Keywords

Forest growth Long-term trends Nitrogen Climate Carbon dioxide Fagus sylvatica 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully thank the French Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) and the French Forest Service (ONF) for providing funding and support to the present study. They also wish to thank Antoine Cazin (INRA), Jérôme Piat (ONF) and several ONF services for their helpful assistance in the sampling phase, Daniel Rittié (INRA) for conducting stem analyses, Vincent Perez (AgroParisTech) for climate data extraction, Erwin Ulrich and Manuel Nicolas (ONF) for useful discussions on nitrogen deposition measurements and associated models, and Jean-Claude Pierrat (INRA) and the two anonymous reviewers, that greatly helped in clarifying the manuscript.

Supplementary material

468_2010_501_MOESM1_ESM.doc (179 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 116 kb)

References

  1. Aber JD, McDowell W, Nadelhoffer KJ et al (1998) Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems—hypotheses revisited. Bioscience 48:921–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aber JD, Goodale CL, Ollinger SV et al (2003) Is nitrogen deposition altering the nitrogen status of northeastern forests? Bioscience 53:375–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrianarisoa KS, Zeller B, Dupouey J-L, Dambrine E (2009) Comparing indicators of N status of 50 beech stands (Fagus sylvatica L.) in northeastern France. For Ecol Manage 257:2241–2253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asman W, Drukker B (1988) Modelled historical concentrations and depositions of ammonia and ammonium in Europe. Atmos Environ 22:725–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Assmann E (1970) The principles of forest yield study. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Bénichou P, Le Breton P (1987) Prise en compte de la topographie pour la cartographie des champs pluviométriques statistiques. La Météorologie 7:23–34Google Scholar
  7. Blake L, Goulding WT, Mott CJB, Johnston AE (1999) Changes in soil chemistry accompanying acidification over more than 100 years under woodland and grass at Rothamstead Experimental Station, UK. Eur J Soil Sci 50:401–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boisvenue C, Running SW (2006) Impacts of climate change on natural forest productivity—evidence since the middle of the 20th century. Global Change Biol 12:862–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bontemps J-D, Hervé J-C, Dhôte J-F (2009) Long-term changes in forest productivity: a consistent assessment in even-aged stands. For Sci 55:549–564Google Scholar
  10. Bormann BT, Gordon JC (1984) Stand density effects in young Red Alder plantations: productivity, photosynthate partitioning and nitrogen fixation. Ecology 65:394–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bouriaud O, Breda N, Dupouey JL, Granier A (2005) Is ring width a reliable proxy for stem-biomass increment? A case study in European beech. Can J For Res 35:2920–2933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Braun S, Thomas VFD, Quiring R, Flückiger W (2009) Does nitrogen deposition increase forest production? The role of phosphorus. Environ Pollut 158:2043–2052PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chahine M, Barnet C, Olsen ET, Chen L, Maddy E (2005) On the determination of atmospheric minor gases by the method of vanishing partial derivatives with application to CO2. Geophys Res Lett 32:L23801. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024165 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Constable JVH, Friend AL (2000) Suitability of process-based tree growth models for addressing tree response to climate change. Environ Pollut 110:47–59PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Croisé L, Ulrich E, Duplat P, Jacquet O (2005) Two independent methods for mapping bulk deposition in France. Atmos Environ 39:3923–3941CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Curtis RO (1964) A stem analysis approach to site index curves. For Sci 10:241–256Google Scholar
  17. Dämmgen U, Erisman JW, Cape JN, Grünhage L, Fowler D (2005) Practical considerations for addressing uncertainties in monitoring bulk deposition. Environ Pollut 134:535–548PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dise NB, Wright RF (1995) Nitrogen leaching from European forests in relation to nitrogen deposition. For Ecol Manage 71:153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Draaijers GPJ, Erisman JW, van Leeuwen NFM, Römer FG, Te Winkel BH, Veltkamp AC, Vermeulen AT, Wyers GP (1997) The impact of canopy exchange on differences observed between atmospheric deposition and throughfall fluxes. Atmos Environ 31:387–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Duplat P, Tran-Ha M (1997) Modelling of dominant height growth in Sessile oak (Quercus petraea Liebl) in France. Regional variability and effect of the recent period (1959–1993). Ann For Sci 54:611–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ellenberg H, Weber HE, Düll R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulissen D (1992) Zeigerwerten von pflanzen in Mitteleuropa. Scripta Geobotanica 18:1–248Google Scholar
  22. Esper J, Cook ER, Schweingruber FH (2002) Low-frequency signals in long tree-ring chronologies for reconstructing past temperature variability. Science 295:2250–2252PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. European Commission (2005) Soil Atlas of Europe. European Soil Bureau Network, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  24. Hasenauer H, Nemani RR, Schadauer K, Running SW (1999) Forest growth response to changing climate between 1961 and 1990 in Austria. For Ecol Manage 122:209–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hastings MG, Jarvis JC, Steig EJ (2009) Anthropogenic impacts on nitrogen isotopes of ice-core nitrate. Science 324:1288PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hendrey GR, Ellsworth DS, Lewin KF, Nagy J (1999) A free-air enrichment system for exposing tall forest vegetation to elevated atmospheric CO2. Global Change Biol 5:293–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Högberg P, Fan HB, Quist M, Binkley D, Tamm CO (2006) Tree growth and soil acidification in response to 30 years of experimental nitrogen loading on boreal forest. Global Change Biol 12:489–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holland EA, Braswell BH, Sulzman J, Lamarque J-F (2005) Nitrogen deposition onto the United States and Western Europe: synthesis of observations and models. Ecol Appl 15:38–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hüffel G (1926) Methods of forest management planning in France (in French). Berger-Levrault, Nancy-Paris-StrasbourgGoogle Scholar
  30. Hyvönen R, Ågren GI, Linder S et al (2007) The likely impact of elevated [CO2], nitrogen deposition, increased temperature and management on carbon sequestration in temperate and boreal forest ecosystems: a literature review. New Phytol 173:463–480PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jacoby GC, D’Arrigo RD (1997) Tree rings, carbon dioxide, and climatic change. PNAS USA 94:8350–8353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Janssen BH (1996) Nitrogen mineralization in relation to C:N ratio and decomposability of organic materials. Plant Soil 181:39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Johnson DW (2006) Progressive N limitation in forests: review and implications for long-term responses to elevated CO2. Ecology 87:64–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jones PD, Moberg A (2003) Hemispheric and large-scale surface air temperature variations: an extensive revision and an update to 2001. J Clim 16:206–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jones PD, Wigley TML, Kelly PM (1982) Variations in surface air temperatures : Part 1. Northern hemisphere, 1881–1980. Mon Weather Rev 110:59–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kahle HP, Karjalainen T, Schuck A, Agren GI (eds) (2008a) Causes and consequences of forest growth trends in Europe. EFI, JoensuuGoogle Scholar
  37. Kahle HP, Spiecker H, Unseld R et al (2008b) Temporal trends and spatial patterns of height growth changes in relation to changes in air temperature and precipitation, and in relation to levels of foliar nitrogen and nitrogen deposition. In: Kahle H-P, Karjalainen T, Schuck A et al (eds) Causes and consequences of forest growth trends in Europe, Research Report 21. EFI, Joensuu, pp 127–167Google Scholar
  38. Körner C, Asshoff R, Bignucolo O et al (2005) Carbon flux and growth in mature deciduous forest trees exposed to elevated CO2. Nature 309:1360–1362Google Scholar
  39. Lamarche VC, Graybill DA, Fritts HC, Rose MR (1984) Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide: tree ring evidence for growth enhancement in natural vegetation. Science 225:1019–1021PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Landsberg J (2003) Physiology in forest models: history and the future. FBMIS 1:49–63Google Scholar
  41. Lanner RM (1985) On the insensitivity of height growth to spacing. For Ecol Manage 13:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lindström MJ, Bates DM (1990) Nonlinear mixed effect models for repeated measures data. Biometrics 46:673–687PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Loustau D, Bosc A, Colin A et al (2005) Modeling climate change effects on the potential production of French plains forests at the sub-regional level. Tree Physiol 25:813–823PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Luckai N, Laroque GR (2002) Challenges in the application of existing process-based models to predict the effect of climate change on C pools in forest ecosystems. Clim Change 55:39–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Macdonald JA, Dise NB, Matzner E, Armbruster M, Gundersen P (2002) Nitrogen input together with ecosystem nitrogen enrichment predict nitrate leaching from European forests. Global Change Biol 8:1028–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mäkelä A, Landsberg J, Ek AR, Burk TE, Ter-Mikaelian M, Ågren G, Oliver CD, Puttonen P (2000) Process-based models for forest ecosystem management: current state of the art and challenges for practical implementation. Tree Physiol 20:289–298PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Matala J, Ojansuu R, Peltola H, Raitio H, Kellomäki S (2006) Modelling the response of tree growth to temperature and CO2 elevation as related to the fertility and current temperature sum of a site. Ecol Model 199:39–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Medlyn B, McMurtrie RE, Dewar R, Jeffreys MP (2000) Soil processes dominate the long-term response of forest net primary productivity to increased temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Can J For Res 30:873–888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mitchell TD, Carter TR, Jones PD, Hulme M, New M (2004) A comprehensive set of high-resolution grids of monthly climate for Europe and the globe: the observed records (1901–2000) and 16 scenarios (2001–2100). Research Working paper 55, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, Norwich, 25 pGoogle Scholar
  50. Moisselin JM, Schneider M, Canellas C, Mestre O (2002) Climatic changes in France during the 20th century. Analysis of long homogenised time series of temperature and precipitation [In French]. La Météorologie 38:45–56Google Scholar
  51. Mormiche A (1994) Managing forest decline of common beech in Normandy 1961–1988 (in French). Revue Forestière Française 46:586–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nadelhoffer KJ, Emmett BA, Gundersen P et al (1999) Nitrogen deposition makes a minor contribution to carbon sequestration in temperate forests. Science 398:145–148Google Scholar
  53. Nellemann C, Thomsen MG (2001) Long-term changes in forest growth: potential effects of nitrogen deposition and acidification. Water Air Soil Pollut 128:197–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Norby RJ, DeLucia EH, Gielen B et al (2005) Forest response to elevated CO2 is conserved across a broad range of productivity. PNAS USA 102:18052–18056PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Nowak RS, Ellsworth DS, Smith SD (2004) Functional responses of plants to elevated atmospheric CO2—do photosynthetic and productivity data from FACE experiments support early predictions? New Phytol (Tansley Review) 162:253–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ollinger SV, Aber JD, Reich PB, Freuder R (2002) Interactive effects of nitrogen deposition, tropospheric ozone, elevated CO2 and land use history on the carbon dynamics of northern hardwood forests. Global Change Biol 8:545–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Piedallu C, Gégout J-C (2007) Multiscale computation of solar radiation for predictive vegetation modelling. Ann For Sci 64:899–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pierrat J-C, Houllier F, Hervé J-C, Salas Gonzalez R (1995) Estimation of the mean of the highest values in a finite population: an application to forest inventories (in French). Biom 51:679–686 Google Scholar
  59. Pinheiro JC, Bates DM (2000) Mixed-effects models in S and S-PLUS. Springer, New-YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pitcairn CER, Fowler D (1995) Deposition of fixed atmospheric nitrogen and foliar nitrogen content of Bryophytes and Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull. Environ Pollut 88:193–205PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Polge H (1981) The influence of thinnings on the growth constraints of Beech (in French). Ann For Sci 38:407–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Preunkert S, Wagenbach D, Legrand M (2003) A seasonally resolved alpine ice core record of nitrate: comparison with anthropogenic inventories and estimation of preindustrial emissions of NO in Europe. J Geophys Res 108. doi: 4610.1029/2003JD003475
  63. Pussinen A, Nabuurs GJ, Wieggers HJJ et al (2009) Modelling long-term impacts of environmental change on mid- and high-latitude European forests and options for adaptive forest management. For Ecol Manage 258:1806–1813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Schaeffer A (1955) Decline in common beech in the administrative unit of Doubs (in French). Bull d Soc Forest Franche-Comté 28:290–291Google Scholar
  65. Schaffers AP, Sýkora KV (2000) Reliability of Ellenberg indicator values for moisture, nitrogen and soil reaction: a comparison with field measurements. J Veg Sci 11:225–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Seynave I, Gégout J-C, Hervé J-C, Dhôte J-F (2008) Is the spatial distribution of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) limited by its potential height growth? J Biogeogr 35:1851–1862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Solberg S, Dobbertin M, Reinds GJ et al (2009) Analyses of the impact of changes in atmospheric deposition and climate on forest growth in European monitoring plots: a stand growth approach. For Ecol Manage 258:1735–1750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Spiecker H, Mielikäinen K, Köhl M, Skovsgaard JP (eds) (1996) Growth trends in European forests. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  69. Ulrich E (1999) Estimation of nitrogen deposition on 27 RENECOFOR plots (France) from 1993 to 1996. In: Karjalainen T, Spiecker H, Laroussinie O (eds) Causes and consequences of accelerating tree growth in Europe, Proceedings 27. EFI, Joensuu, pp 139–156Google Scholar
  70. van Oijen M, Agren GI, Chertov O et al (2008) Evaluation of past and future changes in European forest growth by means of four process-based models. In: Kahle HP, Karjalainen T, Schuck A et al (eds) Causes and consequences of forest growth trends in Europe, Research Report 21. EFI, Joensuu, pp 183–199Google Scholar
  71. Wright RF, Rasmussen L (1998) Introdution to the NITREX and EXMAN projects. For Ecol Manage 101:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zeide B (1993) Analysis of growth equations. For Sci 39:594–616Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Daniel Bontemps
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Christophe Hervé
    • 2
  • Jean-Michel Leban
    • 3
  • Jean-François Dhôte
    • 4
  1. 1.AgroParisTech, ENGREF, UMR 1092 INRA/AgroParisTech Laboratoire d’Etude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB)NancyFrance
  2. 2.Inventaire Forestier National (IFN)Direction TechniqueNogent-sur-VernissonFrance
  3. 3.INRA, Centre de Nancy, UMR 1092 INRA/AgroParisTech Laboratoire d’Etude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB)ChampenouxFrance
  4. 4.Office National des Forêts (ONF)Direction Technique et Commerciale BoisFontainebleauFrance

Personalised recommendations