The decline of spruce stands in Belarus has been analyzed in relation to the dynamics of climatic variables. The results show that this process is correlated with the amount of precipitation, moisture deficit, index of aridity, relative air humidity, and evapotranspiration. Frosts at the onset of the growing season enhance tree die-off, while increase in cloud cover has a favorable effect on the state of spruce stands. Damage to trees occurs mainly in areas with elevated and convex topography and slopes of southwestern aspect, increasing on steeper slopes. The level of die-off is most closely correlated with conditions of the previous year, which is explained by the impact of biological factors (pest insects and phytopathogens) on tree stands already affected by water stress. The decline of spruce stands on a mass scale is also observed in neighboring regions of Russia and counties of East Europe, which is evidence for a low adaptability of spruce to current climate change, including the increasing frequency and severity of dry periods.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2016
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