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Long-term Growth Effects Following Forest Nitrogen Fertilization in Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies Stands in Sweden

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Forest nitrogen (N) fertilization induces changes in the soil and soil microorganisms that could hypothetically affect the long-term productivity of the soil. The tree growth response following a normal (i.e. 150 kg N haâ^’1) single shoot N fertilization has a duration of 7â–“10 yrs. The aim of this study was to investigate whether any residual effects on tree growth persist, which could be attributed to previous N fertilization. The study included six Pinus sylvestris L. and three Picea abies (L.) Karst. experimental sites, sampled for growth parameters 14â–“28 yrs after the last fertilization. Residual growth effects were on average small, and not statistically significant. Negative residual growth effects of varying duration could be discerned, especially at low-fertility P. sylvestris sites. However, there was an overall tendency for growth to increase in the long term after N fertilization. The main conclusion is that operational forest N fertilization with a normal N dose should not be regarded as a threat to long-term forest production.

Keywords: Fertilization; Norway spruce; Scots pine; forest production; nitrogen

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Uppsala Science Park, Skogforsk, The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, SE-751 83, Uppsala

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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