Betula pendula, Betula pubescens and other birches in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats

Beck, Pieter; Caudullo, Giovanni; de Rigo, Daniele; Tinner, Willy (2016). Betula pendula, Betula pubescens and other birches in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J.; de Rigo, D.; Caudullo, G.; Houston Durrant, T.; Mauri, A. (eds.) European Atlas of Forest Tree Species (pp. 70-73). Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union 10.2788/038466

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Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) and downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) are short-lived, relatively small broadleaved trees that occur throughout most of Europe, particularly in northern regions. In southern Europe, birch trees are confined to mountainous areas, as they do not tolerate prolonged summer drought. Birch has a light canopy of small serrated leaves, and characteristic smooth, white to grey bark. In northern regions, birch trees can dominate the landscape up to the tree-line, whereas in the centre of their range they often occur early in secondary succession because of their abundant seed production, low demands on soil quality, and intolerance of shade. Birch trees provide the predominant hard wood source in northern Europe, and some varieties of Betula pendula produce highly priced veneers, while Betula pubescens is mostly used for pulp and fire wood. Other rarer species of birch are endemic to Europe contributing to the continental biodiversity even at high elevations and latitudes.

Item Type:

Book Section (Encyclopedia Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISBN:

978-92-79-52833-0

Publisher:

Publication Office of the European Union

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2016 11:14

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2016 15:54

Publisher DOI:

10.2788/038466

Related URLs:

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.80789

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/80789

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