Ozone exposure affects tree defoliation in a continental climate

Alessandra De Marco, Marcello Vitale, Ionel Popa, Alessandro Anav, Ovidiu Badea, Diana Silaghi, Stefan Leca, Augusto Screpanti, Elena Paoletti

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Ground-level ozone (O3) affects trees through visible leaf injury, accelerating leaf senescence, declining foliar chlorophyll content, photosynthetic activity, growth, carbon sequestration, predisposing to pests attack and a variety of other physiological effects. Tree crown defoliation is one of the most important parameters that is representative of forest health and vitality. Effects of air pollution on forests have been investigated through manipulative experiments that are not representative of the real environmental conditions observed in the field. In this work we investigated the role of O3concentration and other metrics (AOT40 and POD0) in affecting crown defoliation in temperate Romanian forests. The impacts of O3were estimated in combination with nitrogen pollutants, climatic factors and orographic conditions, by applying a non-linear modelling approach (Random Forest and Generalised Regression Models). Ozone concentration and AOT40 under Romanian conditions were more important than meteorological parameters in affecting crown defoliation. In these particular conditions, POD0 never exceeded the critical level suggested by previous literature for forest protection, and thus was not important in affecting crown defoliation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396 - 404
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this

De Marco, A., Vitale, M., Popa, I., Anav, A., Badea, O., Silaghi, D., Leca, S., Screpanti, A., & Paoletti, E. (2017). Ozone exposure affects tree defoliation in a continental climate. Science of the Total Environment, 596-597, 396 - 404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.135