How will climate change impact biomass increment by Norway spruce stands in Western Beskids?

The objective of this study is to analyse the relationship between current climatic conditions and the growth of Norway spruce, and to simulate the effect of changes in temperature and precipitation resulting from increased carbon dioxide concentration on the potential site productivity and carbon sequestration by Norway spruce in the Western Beskids, southern Poland. The research material was data from 43 meteorological stations and posts, and data from 387 permanent sample plots from the Norway spruce stands. On the basis of historical climate data using the WGENK model (Kuchar 2005) a series of meteorological data was generated with a time horizon of 100 years. The calculation procedure was based on two scenarios – CO2 concentrations of 130% and 200% by 2050. In the case of scenario assuming the doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the growth in mean annual temperature projected under this scenario of about 2.7ºC and the reduction in the rainfall during the growing season by about 70 mm would result in a significant deterioration in conditions for spruce growth up to 1000 m asl. A slightly better prospect for the growth of spruce in the Western Beskids would take place in the GISS_E_WC scenario (Durło 2011), which assumes a 30% increase in CO2 concentrations. As a result of the increase in mean annual air temperature by about 0.7ºC while maintaining the current level of mean annual precipitation and a slight reduction in rainfall during the growing season, a slight deterioration in habitat conditions to a height of about 800 m asl, optimal growth conditions for spruce would occur in the zone between 850 and 1000 m asl. These analyses of spruce site conditions in the Western Beskids may be the basis for decisions concerning the future role of this species in the species composition of stands, depending on their location.
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