Assessment of early survival and growth of planted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seedlings under extreme continental climate conditions of northern Mongolia
Sukhbaatar, Gerelbaatar ; Ganbaatar, Batsaikhan ; Jamsran, Tsogtbaatar ; Purevragchaa, Battulga ; Nachin, Baatarbileg ; Gradel, Alexander
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16158
Journal Article (Published version)
Environmental factors play vital roles in successful plantation and cultivation of tree seedlings. This study focuses on problems associated with reforestation under extreme continental climatic conditions. The objectives were to assess relative seedling performance (survival and growth) with respect to plantation age, and to analyze the influence of specific climatic factors during the early stages of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations. The study was carried out in reforested areas of the Tujyin Nars region of northern Mongolia on six Scots pine plantations ranging from 5 to 10 years. In each of the six plantations, five 900 m2 permanent sample plots were established and survival rates and growth performance measured annually over 7 years. Results show high variation in survival among the plantations (p < 0.001, F = 29.7). Seedling survival in the first year corresponded directly to the number of dry days in May. However, survival rate appeared to stabilize after the second year. The insignificant variation of height categories throughout the observation period indicated low competition among individuals. Two linear mixed-effect models show that height and radial growth were best explained by relative air humidity, which we consider to be a reliable indicator of site-specific water availability. Insufficient amounts and uneven distribution of rainfall pose a major threat during the first year of plantation establishment. Humidity and water availability are decisive factors for a successful seedling plantation. This highlights the impact of drought on forest plantations in northern Mongolia and the importance of developing climate resilient reforestation strategies.