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1.  Sensitivity of Beech Trees to Global Environmental Changes at Most North-Eastern Latitude of Their Occurrence in Europe 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:743926.
The present study aimed to detect sensitivity of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica L.) to meteorological parameters and air pollution by acidifying species as well as to surface ozone outside their north-eastern distribution range. Data set since 1981 of Preila EMEP station enabled to establish that hot Summers, cold dormant, and dry and cold first-half of vegetation periods resulted in beech tree growth reduction. These meteorological parameters explained 57% variation in beech tree ring widths. Acidifying species had no significant effect on beech tree growth. Only ozone was among key factors contributing to beech stand productivity. Phytotoxic effect of this pollutant increased explanation rate of beech tree ring variation by 18%, that is, up to 75%. However, due to climate changes the warmer dormant periods alone are not the basis ensuring favourable conditions for beech tree growth. Increase in air temperature in June-August and decrease in precipitation amount in the first half of vegetation period should result in beech tree radial increment reduction. Despite the fact that phytotoxic effect of surface ozone should not increase due to stabilization in its concentration, it is rather problematic to expect better environmental conditions for beech tree growth at northern latitude of their pervasion.
PMCID: PMC3354641  PMID: 22649321
2.  Spontaneous Hybridization between Pinus mugo and Pinus sylvestris at the Lithuanian Seaside: A Morphological Survey 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:172407.
We address the problem of spontaneous hybridization between an exotic species Pinus mugo and the native/local P. sylvestris at the seaside spit of Kursiu Nerija in Lithuania. The objective was to identify spontaneous hybrids between P. mugo and P. sylvestris based on morphology traits among the individuals naturally regenerating at the seaside spit. The field inventory was carried out over the entire Lithuanian part of the spit, and 200 individuals morphologically intermediate between P. sylvestris and P. mugo were identified. Based on a weighted trait index, the intermediate individuals were grouped into two groups, one morphologically close to P. sylvestris and another close to P. mugo. The needle micromorphological traits of the putative hybrids were of intermediate values between P. mugo and P. sylvestris. The results provide a strong evidence of spontaneous hybridization between P. mugo and P. sylvestris in Lithuanian seaside spit of Kursiu Nerija.
PMCID: PMC3349116  PMID: 22619615

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