Effects of Air Impurities on Forest Growth and Tree Mortality: Results Based on a Computer Model

  • Risto Lauhanen
  • Seppo Kellomäki
  • Taneli Kolström
Conference paper


The effects of air impurities on the growth and development of natural Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands growing on Myrtillus site were studied with the help of a process-oriented model assuming that the dynamics of the needle population and fine roots, the photosynthetic rate of the needles and the decomposition rate of the litter and humus are susceptible to the effects of air impurities, thus enhancing the risk of insect attack. Needle loss of less than 20% resulted in no substantial loss in productivity, which was not the case with a needle loss of 30%, where the productivity was 86% of that of the stand not affected by air impurities. Productivity was also decreased by a reduction in the photosynthetic rate being about 98% for a reduction of 10% and about 94% for a reduction 20% of that not affected by air impurities. Nitrogen depositions of 20 and 30 kg ha−1 yr−1 increased productivity by 8% and 16%, respectively, compared with a nitrogen deposition of 10 kg ha−1 yr−1. The reduction in fine roots and the decomposition rate of litter and humus decreased productivity only slightly, resulting in a small change in the number of dead trees. The combination of all the mechanisms showed that a needle loss of 30% and a reduction in the photosynthetic and decomposition rate and fine roots by as much as 20% in a constant nitrogen deposition of 10 kg ha−1 yr−1 reduced productivity to as low as 55% of that in the same nitrogen deposition but unaffected by other mechanisms. Decreasing productivity substantially increased the risk of insect attack, which resulted in excess tree mortality and, consequently, reduction in the productivity of the forest ecosystem.


Fine Root Photosynthetic Rate Decomposition Rate Radial Growth Tree Mortality 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Risto Lauhanen
    • 1
  • Seppo Kellomäki
    • 1
  • Taneli Kolström
    • 1
  1. 1.Fac. of ForestryUniv. of JoensuuJoensuuFinland

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