iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Variation of major elements and heavy metals occurrence in hybrid aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx. × P. tremula L.) tree rings in marginal land

Arta Bardule (1-2)   , Maris Bertins (2), Lauma Busa (2), Dagnija Lazdina (1), Arturs Viksna (2), Michaela Tvrdonova (3-4), Viktor Kanicky (3-4), Tomas Vaculovic (3-4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 1, Pages 24-32 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2869-012
Published: Jan 15, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

Fast growing tree species such as Populus spp. in short rotation woody crop (SRWC) systems could be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective approach to ensure sustainable biomass production and mitigate the negative impacts on the environment caused by more intensive management aimed to promote additional biomass increment. Knowledge on variation of major biologically important elements’ and toxic heavy metals’ occurrence in fertilised hybrid aspen tree rings in marginal land may have important and relevant implications for the management practice and evaluation of element fluxes in SRWC ecosystems. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was used to determine the relative amount of major elements (K, Ca, Mg, P) and heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Pb) in stem wood plane on straight line trajectory starting from pith to bark with measurement step 0.1 mm. While inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to determine average content of the mentioned elements in mechanically separated tree rings to quantify data obtained using LA-ICP-MS method and expressed in relative units. Stem disc samples were collected from six year old hybrid aspen trees growing in marginal agricultural land in the central part of Latvia (hemi-boreal climate conditions) that were initially fertilised with biogas production residues, sewage sludge, and wood ash. We concluded that the content of analysed major elements and heavy metals in the hybrid aspen tree rings varied considerably not only within the analysed stem plane (across tree rings) of one sample tree, but also within one annual ring with significant differences between the content of major elements in earlywood and latewood. Nevertheless, the results of the content of major elements and heavy metals in hybrid aspen tree rings highlighted the significant impact of the initially used fertiliser (especially wood ash) on the average content of elements. Hybrid aspens can be considered bioindicators of both the management activities and general growing conditions even if soil pH is close to neutrality, suggesting a limited mobility of the heavy metals.


Dendroanalyses, Hybrid Aspen, Tree Rings, Major Elements, Heavy Metals, LA-ICP-MS

Authors’ address

Arta Bardule
Dagnija Lazdina 0000-0001-8280-3912
Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Street, LV-2169, Salaspils (Latvia)
Arta Bardule
Maris Bertins
Lauma Busa
Arturs Viksna 0000-0003-1440-798X
University of Latvia, Faculty of Chemistry, 1 Jelgavas Sreet, LV-1004, Riga (Latvia)
Michaela Tvrdonova
Viktor Kanicky 0000-0003-3136-1821
Tomas Vaculovic
Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, Kotlarska 2, 611 37 Brno (Czech Republic)
Michaela Tvrdonova
Viktor Kanicky 0000-0003-3136-1821
Tomas Vaculovic
Masaryk University, CEITEC, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno (Czech Republic)

Corresponding author

Arta Bardule


Bardule A, Bertins M, Busa L, Lazdina D, Viksna A, Tvrdonova M, Kanicky V, Vaculovic T (2020). Variation of major elements and heavy metals occurrence in hybrid aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx. × P. tremula L.) tree rings in marginal land. iForest 13: 24-32. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2869-012

Academic Editor

Claudia Cocozza

Paper history

Received: May 28, 2018
Accepted: Oct 23, 2019

First online: Jan 15, 2020
Publication Date: Feb 29, 2020
Publication Time: 2.80 months

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