Role of temperature in the biological activity of a boreal forest

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


In northern latitudes, temperature is the key factor driving the temporal scales of biological activity, namely the length of the growing season and the seasonal efficiency of photosynthesis. The formation of atmospheric concentrations of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) are linked to the intensity of biological activity. However, interdisciplinary knowledge of the role of temperature in the biological processes related to the annual cycle and photosynthesis and atmospheric chemistry is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to improve understanding of the role of temperature in these three interlinked areas: 1) onset of growing season, 2) photosynthetic efficiency and 3) BVOC air concentrations in a boreal forest. The results present a cross-section of the role of temperature on different spatial (southern northern boreal), structural (tree forest stand - forest) and temporal (day-season- year) scales. The fundamental status of the Thermal Time model in predicting the onset of spring recovery was confirmed. However, it was recommended that sequential models would be more appropriate tools when the onset of the growing season is estimated under a warmer climate. A similar type of relationship between photosynthetic efficiency and temperature history was found in both southern and northern boreal forest stands. This result draws attention to the critical question of the seasonal efficiency of coniferous species to emit organic compounds under a warmer climate. New knowledge about the temperature dependence of the concentrations of biogenic volatile organic compounds in a boreal forest stand was obtained. The seasonal progress and the inter-correlation of BVOC concentrations in ambient air indicated a link to biological activity. Temperature was found to be the main driving factor for the concentrations. However, in addition to temperature, other factors may play a significant role here, especially when the peak concentrations are studied. There is strong evidence that the spring recovery and phenological events of many plant species have already advanced in Europe. This study does not fully support this observation. In a boreal forest, changes in the annual cycle, especially the temperature requirement in winter, would have an impact on the atmospheric BVOC composition. According to this study, more joint phenological and BVOC field observations and laboratory experiments are still needed to improve these scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-951-697-727-3
Electronic ISBNs978-951-697-728-0
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 114 Physical sciences

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