The idea for this book arose in 1993, after the Free State of Bavaria through its Bayrisches Staatsministerium rur Landesentwicklung und Umweltfragen (Bavarian Ministry of Regional Development and the Environment) decided to discontinue both the Bavarian project management (PBWU) for forest decline research and the multidisciplinary field research on the Wank Mountain in the Alps near Garmisch. Forest decline through the action of ozone and other photooxidants was a main topic of the supported re- search in the Alps and will be a topic of new investigations in the Bavarian Forest. Many interesting results were obtained, but the researchers involved have not had sufficient time to allow reliable conclusions to be drawn. It was therefore decided to ask inter- national experts for contributions in order to summarize the best available evidence of a possible link between ozone and forest decline - a topic which has been studied in the USA since the late 1950s and in Europe since the early 1980s. The original idea of Waldsterben as an irreversible large-scale dieback of forests in Germany was soon recognized to be wrong (Forschungsbeirat 1989). However, the new criteria used for the official German and European damage inventories (loss or yel- lowing of needles or leaves, tree morphology) indicate that per- sistently high percentages of damaged spruce and pine remain, and there is an increasing percentage of damaged beech and oak, with a high proportion of biotic disease (Forschungsbeirat 1989; UN-ECE 1995).
Functional Ecology of Woodlands is firmly based on the factors which govern the composition of woodland communities, but goes on to explore the dynamics of interactions between various ecosystem components. This is an authoritative text on the functioning of forest ecosystems, which will also assist readers to reach informed decisions about issues such as the greenhouse effect, acid precipitation, the greening of cities and agroforestry.
The threats posed by air pollution and climate change have resulted in considerable public debate about forest condition and growth during the past two decades. Despite the massive input ofresearch resources, no clear answers have been found to these global questions. Although there have been substantial advances in our knowledge of the effects of air pollutants on the forests, many of the questions associated with forest condition are still open. Monitoring of forest condition at the national level started in Finland in 1985 in accordance with the methodology drawn up by the International Co-operative Programme on Assessments and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests, UN/ECE). Since then, research into forest condition and vitality has been one of the key areas in the research carried out by the Finnish Forest Research Institute. Three basic questions formed the starting point for the multidisciplinary, Forest Condition Research Programme: What changes are taking place in our forests? Why does forest condition vary, and why do trees appear to be suffering? How can forest condition be maintained through appropriate forest management? This report covers forest condition and changes in environmental factors on the of the latest findings, publications and expertise of researchers participated in basis the Forest Condition Research Programme. In addition to researchers from the Finnish Forest Research Institute, a large number of scientists from domestic and foreign universities and research institutes also made a considerable contribution to the research programme.
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