The impact of elevated ozone concentrations on early ontogenetic stages of pine (Pinus sylvestris) and spruce (Picea abies, Picea obovata, P. abies × P. obovata) seedlings originating from different provenances in Russia were studied in the open-field ozone fumigation system located in Kuopio, Finland, over a span of 2 y. The AOT40 value (accumulated ozone dose over the threshold 40 ppb during daylight hours) was 11 ppm hr per growing season, which was 1.4 times higher than the ambient air concentration. The plants were measured for germination rate; shoot increment; needle length; and dry mass of needles, shoots, and roots. Significant differences between pine and spruce provenance response to ozone were found in all parameters. Ozone stress immediately reduced the germination rate of Northern pine provenances, whereas biomass reductions became evident during the second year of the exposure in all pine provenances. Spruce species were more tolerant to elevated ozone concentrations. Our results indicate that seedling development is vulnerable to increasing ozone concentrations and that attention must be paid to the provenance selection.
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Vol. 38 • No. 8