A1 Journal article – refereed
Do warmer growing seasons ameliorate the recovery of mountain birches after winter moth outbreak?

List of Authors: Huttunen L, Niemelä P, Ossipov V, Rousi M, Klemola T
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication year: 2012
Journal: Trees - Structure and Function
Journal name in source: TREES-STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Journal acronym: TREES-STRUCT FUNCT
Number in series: 3
Volume number: 26
Issue number: 3
ISSN: 0931-1890

Subarctic mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii) forests in northern Fennoscandia have shown a slight recovery from recent severe defoliation by the winter moth (Operophtera brumata). This development in trees is hypothesized to be a result of ameliorated growing conditions through increased summer temperatures. We examined if accumulated thermal sum affects the ability of mountain birches to tolerate foliage losses. We quantified the number of leaf-bearing short shoots, the emergence of inflorescences and the seasonal height growth of long shoots in both intact and defoliated trees. We also determined the concentrations of carbon and nitrogen in leaves and carbohydrates in roots. Our results show that defoliation constrained the growth of long shoots, as well as the emergence of inflorescences regardless of thermal sum accumulation. However, the number of leaf-bearing short shoots did not differ between intact and defoliated trees. In the both tree groups, the amounts of emerging leaves increased as a response to thermal sum accumulation. Also the leaf carbon concentration increased in defoliated trees at higher thermal sums, whereas it decreased in intact controls. Generally, the mean carbohydrate concentrations were greater in roots of defoliated than intact trees. However, with increased thermal sums, root carbohydrates increased in intact trees but remained the same in defoliated trees. We conclude that thermal sum accumulation does not greatly promote the recovery of mountain birches. Although the damaged trees produced more leaves at warmer growing sites, this did not increase their height growth or carbohydrate gain in roots.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:37