Pollen season of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and temperature trends at two German monitoring sites over a more than 30-year period

Abstract

Although beech (Fagus) pollen are often disregarded, they play an allergological role. This study focused on pollen season (PS) of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and mean yearly temperatures (T) at two climatically different sites (lowlands vs. Alps) in Germany. Pollen sampling was conducted with 7-day recording volumetric spore traps between 1982 and 2014. Both PS parameters (start, peak, length, annual pollen index [PI]) and T were compared in two periods (1982–1991 and 1992–2014), and correlations between PS and T were analysed. At both sites, average PS occurred earlier in the second period. Statistically significant differences were proved at the alpine site in terms of start and peak of the season, and PI. On average, PS in the lowlands was shorter and occurred earlier than in the Alps. As is the case with a lot of temperate tree species, beeches show the masting phenomenon and PI differed greatly among the years. Mast years were much less frequent than non-mast years, and the differences between the pollen sums were significant. Average pollen counts at the alpine site were about three times higher than in the lowlands. At both sites, higher T was significantly correlated with an earlier start and peak of the season, and an increased PI. Trends of T over the years were significantly positive. Temperature increase as a part of climate change may contribute to an earlier occurrence of the flowering season of European beech and to higher airborne pollen concentrations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Blomme, K., Tomassen, P., Lapeere, H., Huvenne, W., Bonny, M., Acke, F., et al. (2013). Prevalence of allergic sensitization versus allergic rhinitis symptoms in an unselected population. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 160, 200–207.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bousquet, J., Bachert, C., Canonica, G. W., Casale, T. B., Cruz, A. A., Lockey, R. J., et al. (2009). Unmet needs in severe chronic upper airway disease (SCUAD). The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 124, 428–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Dahl, Ǻ., Galán, C., Hajkova, L., Pauling, A., Sikoparija, B., Smith, M., & Vokou, D. (2013). The Onset, Course and Intensity of the Pollen Season. In M. Sofiev & K.-C. Bergmann (Eds.), Allergenic pollen: A review of the production, release, distribution and health impacts (pp. 29–70). Dordrecht: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  4. Dahl, Ǻ., & Strandhede, S.-O. (1996). Predicting the intensity of the birch pollen season. Aerobiologia, 12, 97–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. D’Amato, G., Bergmann, K. C., Cecchi, L., Annesi-Maesano, I., Sanduzzi, A., Liccardi, G., et al. (2014). Climate change and air pollution. Effects on pollen allergy and other allergic respiratory diseases. Allergo Journal International, 23, 17–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Egger, C., Focke, M., Bircher, A. J., Scherer, K., Mothes-Luksch, N., Horak, F., & Valenta, R. (2008). The allergen profile of beech and oak pollen. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 38(10), 1688–1696.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Eriksson, N. E. (1978). Allergy to pollen from different deciduous trees in Sweden. An investigation with skin tests, provocation tests and the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) in springtime hay fever patients. Allergy, 33(6), 299–309.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Eriksson, N. E., Wihl, J. A., Arrendal, H., & Strandhede, S. O. (1987). Tree pollen allergy. III. Cross reactions based on results from skin prick tests and the RAST in hay fever patients. A multi-centre study. Allergy, 42(3), 205–214.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. European Environmental Agency (EEA) (2012). Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012. EEA-Report No 12, Copenhagen.

  10. Galán, C., Emberlin, J., Domínguez, E., Bryant, R. H., & Villamandos, F. (1995). A comparative analysis of daily variations in the Gramineae pollen counts at Córdoba, Spain and London, UK. Grana, 34, 189–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Gessler, A., Keitel, C., Kreuzwieser, J., Matyssek, R., Seiler, W., & Rennenberg, H. (2007). Potential risks for European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in a changing climate. Trees, 21(1), 1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hauser, M., Asam, C., Himly, M., Palazzo, P., Voltolini, S., Montanari, C., et al. (2011). Bet v 1-like pollen allergens of multiple Fagales species can sensitize atopic individuals. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 41(12), 1804–1814.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hecht, R. (1994). 3. Europäisches Pollenflug-Symposium - Bad Lippspringe - Vorträge und Berichte. In K.-C. Bergmann, Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst (Ed.), Pollenbestimmungstechnik, Ergebniswertung und die Herausgabe von Pollenfluginformationen (pp. 21–32). Düsseldorf: Vereinigte Verlagsanstalten GmbH.

  14. Heide, O. M. (1993). Dormancy release in beech buds (Fagus sylvatica) requires both chilling and long days. Physiologia Plantarum, 89, 187–191. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3054.1993.tb01804.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Hilton, G. M., & Packham, J. R. (2003). Variation in the masting of common beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in northern Europe over two centuries (1800–2001). Forestry, 76, 319–328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hirst, J. M. (1952). An automatic volumetric spore trap. Annals of Applied Biology, 39, 257–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. https://bwi.info; 77V1PI_L637mf_0212_bi

  18. Jäger, S., Mandrioli, P., Spieksma, F., Emberlin, J., Hjelmroos, M., Rantio-Lehtimaki, A., et al. (1995). News. Aerobiologia, 11, 69–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Jäger, S., Spieksma, E. T. M., & Nolard, N. (1991). Fluctuations and trends in airborne concentrations of some abundant pollen types, monitored at Vienna, Leiden, and Brussels. Grana, 30(2), 309–312.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kasprzyk, I., Ortyl, B., & Dulska-Jez, A. (2014). Relationships among weather parameters, airborne pollen and seed crops of Fagus and Quercus in Poland. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 197, 111–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Koenig, W. D., & Ashley, M. V. (2003). Is pollen limited? The answer is blowin’ in the wind. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 18(4), 157–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Körner, C., & Basler, D. (2010). Plant science. Phenology under global warming. Science, 327(5972), 1461–1462.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Kovats, R. S., Valentini, R., Bouwer, L. M., Georgopoulou, E., Jacob, D., Martin, E., Rounsevell, M., & Soussana, J.-F. (2014). Europe. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Barros, V. R., Field, C. B., Dokken, D. J., Mastrandrea, M. D., Mach, K. J., Bilir, T. E., Chatterjee, M., Ebi, K. L., Estrada, Y. O., Genova, R. C., Girma, B., Kissel, E. S., Levy, A. N., MacCracken, S., Mastrandrea, P. R., & White, L.L. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1267–1326.

  24. Maurer, M., & Zuberbier, T. (2007). Undertreatment of rhinitis symptoms in Europe: Findings from a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Allergy, 62, 1057–1063.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten. (1999). Der Hasbruch - Naturkundliche Beschreibung eines norddeutschen Waldes. Schriftenreihe Waldentwicklung in Niedersachsen, Heft 8, S. 43, Wolfenbüttel (in German).

  26. Nilsson, S. G., & Wästljung, U. (1987). Seed predation and cross-pollination in mast-seeding beech (Fagus sylvatica) patches. Ecology, 68, 260–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Övergaard, R., Gemmel, P., & Karlsson, M. (2007). Effects of weather conditions on mast year frequency in beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in Sweden. Forestry, 80, 553–563.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Piovesan, G., & Adams, J. M. (2001). Masting behaviour in beech: linking reproduction and climatic variation. Canadian Journal of Botany, 79, 1039–1047.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Polley, H., & Kroiher, F. (2006). Struktur und regionale Verteilung des Holzvorrates und des potenziellen Rohholzaufkommens in Deutschland im Rahmen der Clusterstudie Forst- und Holzwirtschaft. Arbeitsbericht des Instituts für Waldökologie und Waldinventuren 2006/3. Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft Hamburg, Eberswalde.

  30. Ranta, H., & Satri, P. (2007). Synchronized inter-annual fluctuation of flowering intensity affects the exposure to allergenic tree pollen in North Europe. Grana, 46(4), 274–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Satake, A., & Iwasa, Y. (2000). Pollen coupling of forest trees: Forming synchronized and periodic reproduction out of chaos. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 203, 63–84.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Schmidt, W. (2006). Temporal variation in beech masting (Fagus sylvatica L.) in a limestone beech forest (1981–2004). Allgemeine Forst und Jagdzeitung, 177, 9–19. (in German with English summary).

    Google Scholar 

  33. Sykes, M. T., Prentice, I. C., & Cramer, W. (1996). A bioclimatic model for the potential distributions of north European tree species under present and future climates. Journal of Biogeography, 23(2), 203–233.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Wiebicke, K., Schlenvoigt, G., & Jäger, L. (1987). Allergologic-immunochemical study of various tree pollens. I. Characterization of antigen and allergen components in birch, beech, alder, hazel and oak pollens. Allergie und Immunologie (Leipz), 33(3), 181–190.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Ziello, C., Sparks, T. H., Estrella, N., Belmonte, J., Bergmann, K. C., Bucher, E., et al. (2012). Changes to Airborne Pollen Counts across Europe. PLoS One,. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034076.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Zuberbier, T., Lötvall, J., Simoens, S., Subramanian, S. V., & Church, M. K. (2014). Economic burden of inadequate management of allergic diseases in the European Union: a GA2LEN review. Allergy, 69, 1275–1279.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the sponsors of the monitoring site in Oberjoch, by name “Alpenklinik Santa Maria”, Bad Hindelang-Oberjoch, Germany, and “Bad Hindelang Tourismus”, Bad Hindelang, Germany. For critical review and advice, we thank Dr. Mücke, Federal Environment Agency, Berlin, Germany.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anke Simoleit.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Simoleit, A., Wachter, R., Gauger, U. et al. Pollen season of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and temperature trends at two German monitoring sites over a more than 30-year period. Aerobiologia 32, 489–497 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10453-016-9421-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Fagus sylvatica
  • Beech pollen
  • Pollen season
  • Annual pollen index
  • Mast year
  • Climate change