Research output

Tree mineral nutrition is deteriorating in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


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

External Organisations

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


Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)418-430
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2015


The response of forest ecosystems to increased atmospheric CO2 is constrained by nutrient availability. It is thus crucial to account for nutrient limitation when studying the forest response to climate change. 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. Of the 22 significant temporal trends that were observed in foliar nutrient concentrations, 20 were decreasing and two were increasing. Some of these trends were alarming, among which the foliar P concentration in F. sylvatica, Q. Petraea and P. sylvestris that significantly deteriorated during 1992–2009. In Q. Petraea and P. sylvestris, the decrease in foliar P concentration was more pronounced on plots with low foliar P status, meaning that trees with latent P deficiency could become deficient in the near future. 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. As the soil nutrient supply was not always sufficient to meet the demands of faster growing trees, this could partly explain the deterioration of tree mineral nutrition. The results suggest that when evaluating forest carbon storage capacity and when planning to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing use of wood biomass for bioenergy, it is crucial that nutrient limitations for forest growth are considered.
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  • Jonard_etal_2014_GlobalChangeBiol

    Submitted manuscript, 3.39 MB, PDF document


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