Research Report 21

Causes and Consequences of Forest Growth Trends in Europe - Results of the Recognition Project

Hans-Peter Kahle, Timo Karjalainen, Annette Schuck, Göran I. Ågren, Seppo Kellomäki, Karl Mellert, Jörg Prietzel, Karl-Eugen Rehfuess and Heinrich Spiecker (editors)

Research Report 21
Brill: Leiden, Boston, Köln, 2008
ISBN 978 90 04 16705 6, ISSN 1238-8785

Ordering: available from Brill Academic Publishers, Customer Services Department, PO Box 9000, 2300 PA Leiden, The Netherlands. Tel +31 71 5353566, Fax +31 71 5 317532, E-Mail

Forest growth in Europe has been increasing during the last decades. The possible causes suggested to explain this have been increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, improved temperature and precipitation climate, increasing nitrogen deposition and better management. In this book complementary approaches are used to discriminate between the importance of each of these factors. Investigations over large geographical areas are used to separate current variability while detailed studies of the growth of individual trees allow historical trends to be evaluated. Four different mechanistic forest ecosystem models supplement the empirical investigations.

The major cause of the observed growth increase is attributed to the increased nitrogen availability. In future, direct temperature effects and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration are likely to become important determinants of forest growth. Anyone interested in the future of production and health of Europe's forests should benefit form this extensive analysis of the current status and projections of forest growth.