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Ozone pollution: What constraints are imposed on the forest?

Marcus Schaub (The Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL) takes the floor

What constraints does ozone pollution impose on European forests?

Summary

Tropospheric ozone (O3) is well known to be an air pollutant causing injury to plants (Novak et al., 2003). Ozone pollution leaves no elemental residue in plant tissues that can be detected by analytical techniques; therefore, visible injury on leaves and needles is the only easily detectable indication in the field.

Although visible symptoms do not include all the possible forms of injury to vegetation (i.e. physiological changes, reduction in growth, etc.), observation of typical symptoms on foliage has turned out to be a valuable tool for the assessment of the impact of ambient ozone concentrations on sensitive plant species (Gottardini et al., 2017a).

The assessment of ozone visible injury serves therefore as a means to estimate the ozone potential risk for European ecosystems, and is very relevant in the context of ICP Forests (Schaub et al., 2010; Gottardini et al. 2017b).

The main objective of assessing ozone visible injury is to contribute to an ozone risk assessment for European forest ecosystems. In this paper, we provide first, comprehensive results on occurrence of ozone visible injury over space and time in Europe (see Gottardini et al., 2016). The potential impact of tropospheric ozone on forest ecosystems will be discussed and a possible approach for assessing the ozone effect on forest growth will be presented.
Figure: Spatial distribution of April – September mean ozone concentrations (ppb) from passive samplers on 232 plots and 20 countries during 2000-2013 and ozone symptom occurrence on 181 plots and 18 countries during 2001-2013. For ozone symptoms, dot size represents temporal data coverage (small = only 1 year; medium = 2-6 years; large > 6 years) and color represents frequency of symptom occurrence (green = 0%; orange = 0.1-50%; >50% of years measured were symptomatic). © Marcus Schaub / WSL
Figure: Spatial distribution of April – September mean ozone concentrations (ppb) from passive samplers on 232 plots and 20 countries during 2000-2013 and ozone symptom occurrence on 181 plots and 18 countries during 2001-2013. For ozone symptoms, dot size represents temporal data coverage (small = only 1 year; medium = 2-6 years; large > 6 years) and color represents frequency of symptom occurrence (green = 0%; orange = 0.1-50%; >50% of years measured were symptomatic). © Marcus Schaub / WSL © Marcus Schaub / WSL

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