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Conifers declining enormously

29. 12. 2020 | 548 visits

The symbol of the Christmas period is also an evergreen tree - a conifer. In the winter period, it is the conifer trees that do not sleep but can, to some extent, use photosynthetic processes and benefit from this time of year. Scientists from the Slovak Academy of Sciences call attention to the fact that conifers are an important element of Slovak forests and their decline in connection with environmental change, rising temperatures, drought and the growth of insect pests, is enormous.

“´The environment´ we live in together with other organisms has a huge impact on the development of our abilities, degree of resilience and adaptive processes. The ability of individual species to survive under the influence of a changing climate strongly depends on the variability of specific responses within the species. Together with colleagues, we are also involved in the research of European spruce populations within several domestic and international projects (CLIMO - CSF Climate Smart Forestry),” said Gabriela Jamnická from the Institute of Forest Ecology SAS.

Scientists have confirmed that the higher the conifers grow, the more resilient they are.

“We have found that populations from higher altitudes or peripheral areas where living conditions are “harder” have developed better defence mechanisms against the negative effects of the environment. These mechanisms could be used effectively in the future, for example in dealing with longer periods of drought - modification of cell membranes, accumulation of specific substances and proteins, pores density, more effective photochemical efficiency, amount and ratio of protective monoterpenes, or more efficient use of water,” added Gabriela Jamnická.

Scientists believe that these “green” symbols of Christmas will survive in Central Europe, also with the help of mechanisms that will use a choice of more resilient or adaptable genetic resources.

Edited by Monika Tináková

Foto: unsplash.com/Myriam Zilles