The incidence of Gremmeniella abietina in relation to topography in southern Finland
Field data of the 8th National Forest Inventory (NFI) from southern Finland and digital elevation models (DEMs) were used in this study. Damage due to Gremmeniella abietina increased slightly with an increase in absolute elevation in mineral soils. Severe damage increased almost linearly with an increase in elevation in mineral soil plots. The mean elevation in the tract area (the 7 km x 8 km area surrounding the plot) was more strongly correlated with the disease than the elevation of individual plots. The relative altitude of the plot was important: the disease was most severe in the plots situated lower than the mean elevation of the tract area, especially in the peatland plots. In this group, the damage increased linearly with an increase in absolute elevation. According to detailed DEMs in the most diseased areas, steepness of the slope was negatively correlated with the disease. The aspect of the slope had a weak influence. On mineral soils, the disease was most common in south-facing slopes. The microtopography was not as important for the disease occurrence as the relative elevation of the plot. The disease frequencies were very similarly related to the three most common types of surface features (channels, ridges and planar regions) within the 50-m scale. At the cell size of 100 metres, the disease was more common in channels than in ridges, except in mineral soil plots. Topographic variables only partly explained the regional patterns in the occurrence of this disease. The disease was frequent on upland areas, but, on the other hand, it was also common on lowland areas. The most diseased areas studied in detail differed very much from each other with respect to topography and the disease incidence.
Received 10 July 2001 Accepted 25 January 2002 Published 31 December 2002