Differences in fine root traits between Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) – A case study in the Kysucké Beskydy Mts

https://doi.org/10.17221/10/2009-JFSCitation:Konôpka B. (2009): Differences in fine root traits between Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) – A case study in the Kysucké Beskydy Mts. J. For. Sci., 55: 556-566.
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Interspecific comparisons of the fine root “behaviour” under stressful situations may answer questions related to resistance to changing environmental conditions in the particular tree species. Our study was focused on Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) grown in an acidic soil where acidity was caused by past air pollution in the Kysucké Beskydy Mts., North-Western Slovakia. Between April and October 2006, the following fine root traits were studied: biomass and necromass seasonal dynamics, vertical distribution, production, mortality, fine root turnover and production to mortality ratio. Sequential soil coring was repeatedly implemented in April, June, July, September, and October including the soil layers of 0–5, 5–15, 15–25, and 25–35 cm. Results indicated that spruce had a lower standing stock of fine roots than beech, and fine roots of spruce were more superficially distributed than those of beech. Furthermore, we estimated higher seasonal dynamics and also higher turnover of fine roots in spruce than in beech. The production to mortality ratio was higher in beech than in spruce, which was hypothetically explained as the effect of drought episodes that occurred in July and August. The results suggested that the beech root system could resist a physiological stress better than that of spruce. This conclusion was supported by different vertical distributions of fine roots in spruce and beech stands.
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