Storm disturbances in a Swedish forest-A case study comparing monitoring and modelling

Lin Yu, Salim Belyazid, Cecilia Akselsson, Gregory van der Heijden, Giuliana Zanchi

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A Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst) forest site in southwest Sweden was chosen to study the effects of storm disturbances over the period 1997-2009, during which two storms, 'Lothar' (December 1999) and 'Gudrun' (January 2005), affected the area. Monitored deposition data, soil water chemistry data and forest inventory data were compared with the predictions of an integrated ecosystem model, ForSAFE, in an effort to reveal and understand the effects of storms on acidification/recovery in forest soils. Both storms caused windthrow loss leading to increased nitrate and sulphate concentrations in soil water as a result of stimulated mineralization. Lothar led to increased concentrations of Na+, Mg2+, and Cl- in soil water due to sea-salt episode. No general sea-salt episode was seen following Gudrun, but small sea-salt episodes were observed in 2007 and 2008. Each sea-salt episode caused a temporary decrease of pH, and a subsequent recovery, but overall, the soil water pH decreased from 4.54 to 3.86 after Lothar. Modelling suggested that the site was recovering from acidification from 1990s, and would continue to recover in future. Both modelled and monitored data showed that storm caused disturbances in the recovery; monitored data even suggested that soil acidification happened due to storm disturbances. Sea-salt episode does not increase soil acidity in the long term, and will probably decrease the soil acidity by replenishing the base saturation. The modelled data also suggested that storms with only windthrow would not have effects on soil acidification recovery in the long term, but they may influence the soil fertility by losses of base cations. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-113
JournalEcological Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physical Geography

Free keywords

  • Forest soil
  • Dynamic model
  • Storm disturbance
  • Sea-salt episode
  • Acidification recovery


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