Research output

Is tree mineral nutrition deteriorating in Europe?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper/Powerpoint/Abstract


  • Mathieu Jonard
  • Alfred Fürst
  • Anne Thimonier
  • Volkmar Timmermann
  • Nenad Potocic
  • Peter Waldner
  • Sue Benham
  • Karin Hansen
  • Païvi Merilä
  • Quentin Ponette
  • Ana C De La Cruz
  • Manuel Nicolas
  • Luc Croisé
  • Morten Ingerslev
  • Giorgio Matteucci
  • Bruno Decinti
  • Marco Bascietto
  • Pasi Rautio

External Organisations

  • BFW, Federal Research Centre for Forests
  • WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
  • Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute
  • Croatian Forest Research Institute, Department of Ecology
  • Forest Research, Alice Holt Lodge
  • IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
  • METLA, Finnish Forest Research Institute
  • UCL-ELI, Université catholique de Louvain, Earth and Life Institute
  • INIA, Centro de Investigación Forestal
  • ONF, Office National des Forêts
  • Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen
  • Istituto per i Sistemi Agricoli e Forestali del Mediterraneo - U.O.S. Rende
  • CNR, Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 24-Sep-2014
Event1st ICOS Science Conference on Greenhouse Gases and Biogeochemical Cycles - Brussel, Belgium
Duration: 23-Sep-201425-Sep-2014


Conference1st ICOS Science Conference on Greenhouse Gases and Biogeochemical Cycles
Internet address


The objectives of this study were to describe the nutritional status of the main European tree species, to identify growth limiting nutrients and to assess changes in tree nutrition during the past two decades. We analysed the foliar nutrition data collected during 1992-2009 on the intensive forest monitoring plots of the ICP Forests programme. This dataset is unique in its scope and size, and has the further advantage of being harmonized among all participating countries. Of the 22 significant temporal trends that were observed in foliar nutrient concentrations, 20 were decreasing and 2 were increasing. Altogether our results show a clear deterioration in P nutrition during the past two decades in some of the main tree species. Our study also highlights some downward trends that should be monitored closely in the future since they could become alarming: e.g. decrease in foliar S concentration in P. abies and P. sylvestris. Increased tree productivity, possibly resulting from high N deposition and from the global increase in atmospheric CO2, has led to higher nutrient demand by trees. Soil nutrient supply was however not always sufficient to meet the demand of faster growing trees. As tree nutrient status exerts a tight control on net ecosystem productivity, this deterioration in tree nutrition could have a strong impact on the response of forest ecosystems to climate change.
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