SO2 :: Scots pine

Latin name: 
Pinus sylvestris

Impact Type: Direct exposure to pollutant

Key Concerns:

Scots pine is known to be sensitive to SO2 at concentrations which occurred in or downwind of large urban conurbations in the 1960s and 1970s. The poor performance of Scots pine in certain trials in the Pennines was attributed to high mean winter concentrations of SO2 and similar results were obtained from the Ruhr area in Germany (Farrar et al. 1977, Knabe 1970). Current concentrations of SO2 in the UK are unlikely to affect growth of Scots pine except in the immediate vicinity of point sources. Recent studies from Finland suggest that Scots pine may take up SO2 from the atmosphere more rapidly than Norway spruce (Manninen & Huttunen, 2000), and that the Critical Level under Finnish conditions may need to be smaller than that currently used by UNECE (Manninen et al., 1996).

Emissions of heavy metals and sulphur from such a point source, a non-ferrous smelter in the Kola Peninsula have reduced tree and needle growth causing canopy loss in surrounding forests of Scots pine (Nojd & Reames 1996). Older trees were found to be more susceptible than younger ones with growth reductions occurring further away from the pollution source. The lipid composition of roots is also influenced by industrial pollution, possibly related to SO2 exposure (Pukacki & Kaminska-Rozek, 2002).

Additional Comments:

Mixtures of pollutants such as SO2, NO2 and ozone may have contributed to growth reductions. 

Critical Load/level: 
Habitat/ Ecosystem Type Critical Load/ Level Status Reliability Indication of exceedance Reference
Forests and semi-natural vegetation

20 µg SO2 m-3 annual mean and half-year(Oct-March) mean

UNECE, 2004 quite reliable i.e. the results of some studies are comparable

Low temperature appears to enhance the negative effects of SO2, and the lower critical level of 15 µg SO2 m-3 is used where the effective temperature sum (ETS) (i.e. the sum of temperatures) above 5oC is below 1000 degree days (d.d) (Ashmore et al., 1994).

Farrar, J.F.; Relton, J.; Rutter, A.J. 1977 Sulphur dioxide and growth of Pinus sylvestris Journal of Applied Ecology 14 861-875
Knabe, W. 1970 Kiefernwaldbreitung und Schwefeldioxid-Immissionen im Ruhrgebiet Staub-Reinhalt Luft 39 32-35
Manninen, S.; Huttunen, S.; Rautio, P.; Peramaki, P. 1996 Assessing the critical load of SO2 for Scots Pine in situ. Environmental Pollution 93 27-38
Nojd, P.; Reames, G.A. 1996 Growth variation of Scots Pine across a pollution gradient on the Kola peninsula, Russia Environmental Pollution 93 313-325
Pukacki, P.M.; Kaminska-Rozak, E. 2002 Long-term implications of industrial pollution stress on lipids composition in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) roots Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 24(3) 249-255
Species group: 

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