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Ground level ozone effects in individual growth phases of central european submountain beech forests

Abstract

We observed ground level ozone concentrations on a series of five beech experimental plots, one representing the original stand and the other four generated and modified by cuts of graduated intensity. The study was carried out in a beech ecosystem in the Kremnické vrchy Mts, the Western Carpathian region, in years 1999-2008. The plots, established in 1989, were evaluated and compared statistically before and after the cutting modification in 2004. The level of significance of the effect of this intervention was 99% on the plot representing small-area clear-cut and on the plot treated with medium cut. Differences, though not significant, were also found in the other plots. Apart from the effects due to the stocking reduction, the whole post-intervention period was characterised with the influence of progressively increasing average air temperatures and similarly increasing ozone concentrations. Globally, the ozone concentrations on all plots were lower (average value 39 μg m-3) during the period 1999-2003 than in the following years 2004-2008 (average value 55 μg m-3). Maximum values measured in the growing season ranged from 36 to 140 μg m-3. The allowable limit exceeded 10 times in years 1999-2003 but 17 times in years 2004-2008, implying worsening conditions in Central European beech forest stands.

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