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 Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>