Biomass of speckled alder on an air-polluted mountain site and its response to fertilization

Environ Manage. 2014 Dec;54(6):1421-33. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0359-y. Epub 2014 Oct 8.


The article summarizes outcomes of a biomass study conducted in a young speckled alder plantation on a cold mountain site. At this location, the previously existing old forest was clear felled because of damage from air pollution, and present-day surface humus is in need of restoration. The intention of this study was to quantify the biomass and nutrients accumulated by alders and their components and assess whether the initial fertilization resulted in increased biomass production and nutrient accumulation in the biomass. Besides the control, two fertilized treatments were installed. In the surface treatment (SUT), the amendment was applied as a base dressing in small circles around trees. In the planting-hole treatment (PHT), the amendment was incorporated into soil inside the planting holes. Five growth seasons after planting and fertilization, six alders from each treatment were harvested including roots. Their biomass was quantified and analyzed for macroelements. The greatest pool of dry mass (DM) was branches in the control and stem wood in the fertilized treatments. The greatest pools of macroelements were leaves and branches. The most pronounced effects of fertilization were recorded in the DM and consequently in the absolute quantities of nutrients. The DM of an average tree in the control, SUT, and PHT was 85, 226, and 231 g, respectively. The absolute contents of nutrients per tree in the fertilized treatments showed the following increases, as compared with the control: (N) 2.5-2.6 times; (P) 1.6-2.4 times; (K) 1.8-2.1 times; and (Mg) 1.8-2.0 times, respectively. Speckled alder responded positively to fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution*
  • Alnus / chemistry
  • Alnus / drug effects
  • Alnus / growth & development*
  • Biomass
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods*
  • Fertilizers*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Seasons
  • Soil
  • Wood / drug effects
  • Wood / growth & development


  • Fertilizers
  • Soil