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Lesnoy Zhurnal

Ecological and Physiological Features of the Scots Pine Reaction to the Soil Fertility Level as an Indicator of Adaptation to Environmental Conditions

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V.M. Lebedev, E.V. Lebedev

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10.17238/ issn0536-1036.2019.6.92


Comprehensive ecological and physiological studies (on the organism level) of plant response of Scots pine to changes in soil fertility were carried out in order to obtain quantitative parameters of the leaf apparatus and root system functioning and nature of their interrelation. Biological productivity was calculated according to V.M. Lebedev and E.V. Lebedev (2006), net productivity of photosynthesis – according to A.A. Nichiporovich (1955), and mineral productivity – according to V.M. Lebedev (1998). The response of 2–3-year-old scots pine plants was studied for fertilization with 30, 60, 120 and 240 kg/ha of nitrogen against the fertilizer application rate of Р60К60 under the conditions of a microfield experiment on gray forest soil. An increase in the level of nitrogen nutrition led to a change in the ecological and physiological parameters of the root system and leaf apparatus functioning: the ratio between root and photosynthetic potential, nitrogen absorption by the unit of the active surface of roots per day, net productivity of photosynthesis, and biological productivity of plants. The nitrogen status slightly affected the net productivity of photosynthesis, however drove up an increase in biological productivity by 1.2–1.5 times. An increase in the nitrogen status led to a change in the ratio between the values of root and photosynthetic potentials in favor of the leaf apparatus. A high positive correlation (0.931–0.992) between the photosynthetic potential and increase in dry mass; and a high negative correlation (–(0.843–0.963)) between the ratio of root potential to photosynthetic potential and nitrogen uptake were established. The maximum of pine biological productivity was observed at a nitrogen rate of 120 kg/ha. A further increase of the nitrogen status led to a decrease in biological productivity and was found to be toxic. The response of pine to a decrease in soil fertility (due to its slow response) was determined as a result of a retrospective comprehensive ecological and physiological analysis of tabular phytomass data compiled by V.A. Usol’tsev (2002) for tree stands growing in the European and Asian parts of Russia in the age range from 10–20 to 150–300 years. The natural decrease in soil fertility of pine stands with the age from 25 to 100 years in all the regions caused a decrease in nitrogen uptake by 18.5–84.5 times, and net productivity of photosynthesis by 3.4–18.0 times. The correlation between plant age, nitrogen uptake, and net productivity of photosynthesis ranged from –0.714 to –0.870 and –0.894 to –0.991, respectively. The decrease in the activity of photosynthetic apparatus and root system adversely affected the biological productivity, which fell from 2.8 to 4.0 times depending on the region. The relationship between biological productivity and age was high negative (correlation coefficient ranged from –0.572 to –0.783). The relationship between mineral productivity with biological productivity and net productivity of photosynthesis in all cases was high positive from 0.907 to 0.994 and from 0.757 to 0.932, respectively. Starting from the age of 25, the plants adapted to a decrease in soil fertility by increasing the ratio of root to photosynthetic potential, which grew from 4.8 to 12.5 times during ontogenesis depending on the region. This nonspecific reaction is confirmed by the high positive correlation (from 0.947 to 0.997) of the ratio of root to photosynthetic potential with the tree age.


V.M. Lebedev, Doctor of Agriculture, Prof.; ResearcherID: M-8699-2019, ORCID: 0000-0003-3316-854X
E.V. Lebedev, Candidate of Biology, Assoc. Prof.; ResearcherID: G-9445-2019, ORCID: 0000-0002-5824-6981

Authors job

Nizhny Novgorod State Agricultural Academy, prosp. Gagarina, 97, Nizhny Novgorod, 603107, Russian Federation; e-mail:,


Scots pine, nitrogen nutrition, mineral productivity, net productivity of photosynthesis, organism level, biological productivity

For citation

Lebedev V.M., Lebedev E.V. Ecological and Physiological Features of the Scots Pine Reaction to the Soil Fertility Level as an Indicator of Adaptation to Environmental Conditions. Lesnoy Zhurnal [Russian Forestry Journal], 2019, no. 6, pp. 92–103. DOI: 10.17238/ issn0536-1036.2019.6.92


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Ecological and Physiological Features of the Scots Pine Reaction to the Soil Fertility Level as an Indicator of Adaptation to Environmental Conditions