Impact of soil drainage to the radial stem growth of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) in peatland forests

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Abstract

Peatland Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) forests represent very valuable ecosystems with considerable importance for nature conservation. However, a lot of peatland forests have been drained or used for opencast mining of peat. Since dendrochronological and dendroecological studies on trees growing on peatlands in Europe are not many, this study aimed to reconstruct the impact of drainage to the growth of trees in forest stands older than 100 years in the moment of drainage. Dendrochronological analysis was performed on two 0.25-ha square sampling plots (50*50 m) in two pre-selected stands (control site vs. drained site) with similar natural conditions and age. The mean-value functions of the ring indices, comparing the drained site with the control site, in the period after 1940 revealed very similar radial-growth trends. After the year 1992, when one site was substantially drained, the radial-growth trends not showed any significant change. Likewise, the result of the independent two sample t-test for the period after 1992 has not revealed any substantial statistically important difference in the mean index between the control site and the drained site

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