Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pine Is Ten Times As Sensitive As Maple

08.05.2002


Coniferous trees are widespread in Russia, especially in Siberia, where taiga extends over tens of millions of hectares. Cedars and pines grow also in the environs of cities and in city parks and suffer from human-induced changes in environment.



Of course, coniferous trees can withstand a low-level pollution. Acid gases or soil pollutants that trees absorb are actively transported and deposited in those parts of wood, which do not perform important functions, and some elements are removed with needles and root exudates. Trees are armed with several biochemical reactions preventing harmful oxidation processes. According to the data obtained in the Main Botanical Garden in Moscow, the ability of pine species to withstand the human-induced pollution decreases in the following range. Common pine (Pinus silvestris) is most sustainable; mountain pine (Pinus montana) and North American species - Labrador pine (Pinus banksiana) and Weymouth pine (Pinus strobus) - are less sustainable; cembra pine (Pinus cembra), Siberian cedar (Pinus sibirica), dwarf pine (Pinus pumila), and Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) are most vulnerable.

Conifers are ten times as sensitive to the air pollution as foliage trees. Because of such a susceptibility to ecological changes, conifers are good objects for the biological monitoring of the environment. This method allows one to assess a combined impact of all toxic substances on live organisms. This is very advantageous in urban conditions, since the heterogeneity of the city climate, soil cover, topography, and other factors make it difficult to determine the degree of pollution and the level of toxicity of various substances in certain points within the town area. Such an assessment could not be based, e.g., only on the chemical analysis of gaseous pollutants, because the latter cannot characterize the transformation and migration of gases in different layers of the atmosphere. In this situation, the observation on plants that suffer from these gases is a better way of ecological control.


Pines from 20 to 25 years old growing in town Tomsk, in areas polluted to different degrees, were observed by research assistants from the Tomsk State University. They discovered that urban conditions cause structural defects and changes in main physiological and growth processes in coniferous trees. The photosynthesis efficiency is decreased by 25-30%, observed trees grow slower than similar conifers in the suburbs and have a distorted (split) upper part of the crown and a low-quality wood.
On the basis of assessing the state of coniferous trees in the area of the Baikal Lake, Dr. Mikhailova, the research assistant from the Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, classified the state of conifers depending on the environmental conditions, in particular, on the air pollution by industrial gases. The pollution-induced sickness of trees develops in several stages. First, a small, but visible metabolic disorder appears. At a medium-level pollution, the disorder grows into a persistent chronic disease, the adaptive mechanisms do not work properly, and the tree growth is retarded. As pressing becomes stronger, the tree enters the phase of an irreversible degradation. And at the last stage, the tree slowly dies.

Plants are very vulnerable to high concentrations of atmospheric ozone. The study of the ozone influence on trees is hardly possible in natural conditions because of a high reactivity and a wide spectrum of impacts of this agent. In laboratory, special equipment allows to monitor the ozone concentration during the experiment. Scientists from the Institute of Atmospheric Optics (Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences), the Tomsk State University, and the Institute of Forestry (Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences) found that six-hour-long exposure of four-year-old Siberian cedars to an atmosphere with an increased ozone concentration (8 mg/m3) results in the decomposition of photosynthetic pigments. This effect is better expressed in the needles of rapidly growing cedars. Needles of slowly growing plant individuals are less sensitive to the stress. However, a low rate of growth is disadvantageous from the viewpoint of park designers.

To sum up, we may say that urban conditions are too difficult for pines and cedars. Their right place is taiga with a clean air that is never present in a large city. That is why pines, which are planted now by many people on lawns in front of their houses, get sick and die when very young.

Natalia Reznik | alphagalileo

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>