Causes and Consequences of Forest Growth Trends in Europe

Results of the Recognition Project

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Forest growth in Europe has been increasing during the last decades. The possible causes suggested to explain this have been increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, improved temperature and precipitation climate, increasing nitrogen deposition and better management. In this book complementary approaches are used to discriminate between the importance of each of these factors. Investigations over large geographical areas are used to separate current variability while detailed studies of the growth of individual trees allow historical trends to be evaluated. Four different mechanistic forest ecosystem models supplement the empirical investigations.

The major cause of the observed growth increase is attributed to the increased nitrogen availability. In future, direct temperature effects and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration are likely to become important determinants of forest growth. Anyone interested in the future of production and health of Europe's forests should benefit form this extensive analysis of the current status and projections of forest growth.
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