Nowadays, a large area of Norway spruce forest stands in Europe is disturbed by windstorm and, subsequently, bark beetle outbreaks. We investigated the state of three disturbed spruce stands along an altitudinal gradient in Tatra National Park (Slovakia) through various physiological processes. Tree-growth characteristics, the mineral nutrition in the needles, and photosynthetic efficiency were assessed. Two techniques of chlorophyll a fluorescence and analyses of assimilatory pigments were used to detect the changes in photosynthesis functioning. Also, the heat sensitivity of photosystem II was tested. Our results showed that these stands are located in nutrient-poor environments. We recorded similar contents of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iron in all stands. Down the vertical transect, the contents of calcium, magnesium, and manganese significantly decreased and the non-essential aluminium increased. Based on stem circumference measurements, water deficit occurred during the vegetation season in all stands, but with the smallest magnitude highest U–stand. We found some photosynthetic constraints: slightly lower chlorophyll contents in all stands were recorded; however, seasonal dynamics with increasing chlorophyll concentration in the highest U–stand were observed. Moreover, the photochemistry of the lowest D–stand was the most negatively influenced by simulated heat, as the photosynthetic performance index, and the density of the active reactions centres significantly decreased and the values of the K–step and basal fluorescence increased. Therefore, we can conclude the different levels of physiological vitality in these naturally damaged spruce stands, with the best physiological performance of the trees in the highest stand.

Calendario de la edición:
4 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other