Academic journal article Estonian Journal of Ecology

Mineral Nutrition of Natural Regeneration of Scots Pine on Coastal Dunes in South-West Estonia/Manni Jarelkasvu Toitumistingimused Edela-Eesti Rannikuluidetel

Academic journal article Estonian Journal of Ecology

Mineral Nutrition of Natural Regeneration of Scots Pine on Coastal Dunes in South-West Estonia/Manni Jarelkasvu Toitumistingimused Edela-Eesti Rannikuluidetel

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The coastal landscape of South-West Estonia is characterized by dunes and coastal ridges formed from the sediments of the melting glacier after the last ice age. During the period of the transgression of the Litorina Sea (ca 4000-5000 years BP) intensive formation of dunes took place (Ord, 1972a). These coastal formations are known today as the Rannametsa dune ridge, which proceeds from Uulu near Parnu to the Latvian border. By now the coastal dunes have become stabilized and are covered with pine forest, of which pure pine forest makes up 89.5% (Parn, 2003). The conditions for forest growth on dunes vary, depending primarily on the time the dune was formed, the height of the dune, and soil fertility. The prevailing soils on Estonian coastal dunes are Podzols of varying level of podzolization (Koresaar, 2003a, b). Generally the soils on dunes are extremely poor in nutrients (Paal, 1997), strongly to moderately acidic ([pH.sub.KCl] 2.05.1), have a relatively low humus content (0.4-0.7%), and often a less than 5% moisture content (Ord, 1972b). The content of nutrients in dune soils varies depending significantly on geomorphological conditions. Soils on plains before the dune and on the bottom of the dune are richer in nutrients than those higher on the dune as the waters flowing down the dune and the decomposition of organic matter originating from plants accumulated at the bottom of the dune enrich these areas with nutrients (Mandre, 2000, 2003).

According to the classification of forest site types used the dune forests in South-West Estonia are of Cladina, Yaccinium vitis-idaea, Callana, and Yaccinium myrtillus type. On highest dunes that have stabilized later unique Cladina pine forest with stunted gnarly trees with crooked trunks can be found. On the slopes of dunes where the soils are somewhat more fertile Yaccinium vitis-idaea pine forests with less crooked trees grow. Second growth is the richest in pure pine forests of Cladina and Yaccinium vitis-idaea type (Parn, 2003). However, at the bottom of dunes and in depressions between dunes the forests are richer in species. In the case of higher dunes growth conditions differ between the slope, bottom, and top of the dune and thus the forest site type can vary over one and the same dune. In interdunal depressions also Yaccinium uliginosum site type can be found. Yaccinium vitis-idaea site type is characteristic on lower than 10-m-high dune ranges and plain damp coastal sands. On higher ridges and on tops of dunes Cladina and Callana site types occur. Yaccinium myrtillus pine forests grow in lower and damper areas.

Scots pine (Pines sylvestris L.) is a tree species growing in various climate zones in soils rich in humus as well as those poor in nutrients, surviving in largely varying ecological conditions. However, for normal growth and production Scots pine like all other plants has its requirements for qualitative and quantitative composition of nutrients. Large variation of edaphic and climatic conditions in dune fields has brought about a large variation also in the functioning and structure of the forest ecosystem, including the physiological status of Scots pine. It was observed that the content of carotenoids and chlorophylls in pine needles may fall from the bottom of a dune towards its top as it is significantly affected by nutrition conditions (Mandre & Korsjukov, 2003). According to Kloseiko (2003), dispersion analysis indicated differences between the average sucrose content in the needles of pines growing at different heights on dunes but the content of carbohydrates does not correlate with the photosynthetically active radiation on the top and bottom of a dune.

The aim of the present study was to ascertain the dependence of the eco-physiological status of second-growth Scots pine on the height of dunes, considering the variation of the growth substrate and mineral nutrition of trees, which significantly affect the growth and bioproduction of trees. …

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