: Anthropogenic activities have resulted in a significant increase of reactive nitrogen (N) compounds in the atmosphere and a rise in N deposition on forest ecosystems. Increasing N loads impact forest productivity and health, altering tree physiological status and nutrient balance with possible beneficial and detrimental consequences. The impact of N deposition has received considerable attention by scientific research, covering medium and high latitudes, while experimental studies in the Mediterranean area are almost absent. The present study used a manipulative approach, through replicated N additions (background deposition, 30, 60 kg N ha-1 yr-1) to simulate the cumulative effects of N deposition in two beech (Fagus sylvaticaL.) forests located in contrasting climatic regions of Italy. Leaf nutrients and photosynthetic pigments were tested as monitoring indicators after four years of N fertilization. Foliar N and pigment concentrations indicated not limiting N conditions at both forest sites, although changes in chlorophylls and carotenoids showed an early response of the canopy to N additions. N-to-phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) ratios increased under elevated N fertilization, which could be partly related to the relative enhancement of foliar N concentration, and partly associated with the reduction of foliar P and S. The two eutrophic beech forests monitored were not severely affected by chronic N addition, not showing critical nutritional and physiological impairments over the short to medium period. However, the modifications in leaf nutrient and pigment compositions showed an incipient stress response and accentuated the differences induced by climatic and soil characteristics at the two sites. The potential use of nutrients and photosynthetic pigments in monitoring forest N deposition under contrasting climatic conditions and the eventual limits of manipulative experiments are discussed.

Effects of simulated nitrogen deposition on the nutritional and physiological status of beech forests at two climatic contrasting sites in Italy

Teglia, Alessandra
Primo
;
Matteucci, Giorgio;Ravaioli, Dario;Muzzi, Enrico;Marcolini, Graziella;Magnani, Federico
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

: Anthropogenic activities have resulted in a significant increase of reactive nitrogen (N) compounds in the atmosphere and a rise in N deposition on forest ecosystems. Increasing N loads impact forest productivity and health, altering tree physiological status and nutrient balance with possible beneficial and detrimental consequences. The impact of N deposition has received considerable attention by scientific research, covering medium and high latitudes, while experimental studies in the Mediterranean area are almost absent. The present study used a manipulative approach, through replicated N additions (background deposition, 30, 60 kg N ha-1 yr-1) to simulate the cumulative effects of N deposition in two beech (Fagus sylvaticaL.) forests located in contrasting climatic regions of Italy. Leaf nutrients and photosynthetic pigments were tested as monitoring indicators after four years of N fertilization. Foliar N and pigment concentrations indicated not limiting N conditions at both forest sites, although changes in chlorophylls and carotenoids showed an early response of the canopy to N additions. N-to-phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) ratios increased under elevated N fertilization, which could be partly related to the relative enhancement of foliar N concentration, and partly associated with the reduction of foliar P and S. The two eutrophic beech forests monitored were not severely affected by chronic N addition, not showing critical nutritional and physiological impairments over the short to medium period. However, the modifications in leaf nutrient and pigment compositions showed an incipient stress response and accentuated the differences induced by climatic and soil characteristics at the two sites. The potential use of nutrients and photosynthetic pigments in monitoring forest N deposition under contrasting climatic conditions and the eventual limits of manipulative experiments are discussed.
Teglia, Alessandra; Di Baccio, Daniela; Matteucci, Giorgio; Scartazza, Andrea; De Cinti, Bruno; Mazzenga, Francesco; Ravaioli, Dario; Muzzi, Enrico; Marcolini, Graziella; Magnani, Federico
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/883343
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