iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Sensitivity of European beech trees to unfavorable environmental factors on the edge and outside of their distribution range in northeastern Europe

Algirdas Augustaitis (1)   , Almantas Kliučius (1), Vitas Marozas (1), Mantas Pilkauskas (1), Ingrida Augustaitiene (1), Adomas Vitas (2), Tomasz Staszewski (3), Aris Jansons (4), Andrejs Dreimanis (5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 259-269 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1398-008
Published: Oct 16, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Collection/Special Issue: IUFRO 7.01.00 - Ilhéus (Brazil, 2013) & Beijing (China, 2014)
Forest Response to Climate Change and Air Pollution
Guest Editors: Paoletti E, Kozovitz A, Feng Z, Bytnerowicz A

European beech is a successful tree species outside its distribution range in northeastern Europe, where Prussian foresters introduced it mainly into Scots pine stands. This forest management practice resulted in new issues related to the sensitivity of European beech to current environmental changes in areas outside its natural range. We hypothesized that recent global environmental changes promoted the northeast migration of European beech outside its distribution range in Europe. To test this hypothesis, dendrochronological analysis of beech tree ring series was performed for eight sites located in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Frost in winter months and heat in June, along with drought in the vegetation period, limited beech tree growth outside its natural distribution range in northeast Europe. Higher air concentration of surface ozone and sulphur deposition level reinforced the negative effect of the detected key meteorological variables on beech growth, while higher air concentrations and deposition of nitrate had a positive effect. These factors explained about 50% of the total variation in increment indexes of beech trees at sites on the northeasren edge of their range. The observed trends of beech growth over the last 25 years has determined favorable conditions for planting this tree species outside its natural range in northeastern European forests.


European Beech, Tree Increment Indexes, Meteorological Parameters, Ozone, Acidifying Compounds

Authors’ address

Algirdas Augustaitis
Almantas Kliučius
Vitas Marozas
Mantas Pilkauskas
Ingrida Augustaitiene
Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Akademia, LT-53362 Kaunas dstr. (Lithuania)
Adomas Vitas
Vytautas Magnus University, LT-46324 Kaunas (Lithuania)
Tomasz Staszewski
Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas, Katowice, Poland
Aris Jansons
Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava” (Latvia)
Andrejs Dreimanis
Latvian University of Agriculture (Latvia)

Corresponding author

Algirdas Augustaitis


Augustaitis A, Kliučius A, Marozas V, Pilkauskas M, Augustaitiene I, Vitas A, Staszewski T, Jansons A, Dreimanis A (2015). Sensitivity of European beech trees to unfavorable environmental factors on the edge and outside of their distribution range in northeastern Europe. iForest 9: 259-269. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1398-008

Academic Editor

Elena Paoletti

Paper history

Received: Jul 12, 2014
Accepted: May 26, 2015

First online: Oct 16, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 4.77 months

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