Effects of 76 Hz electromagnetic fields on forest ecosystems in northern Michigan: Tree growth

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Since 1984, the possible effects of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic (EM) fields generated by a 76 Hz communication antenna on the growth and productivity of four deciduous and one coniferous species have been studied in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Results from two research sites are discussed here: one site near an antenna element and a control site located 50 km from the communication system. Growth models for individual tree diameters were developed for northern red oak (Quercus rubra), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), aspen (Populus tremuloides with a few individuals of P. grandidentata), and red maple (Acer rubrum). A growth model for individual tree height was developed for young red pine (Pinus resinosa). Average differences between the observed and predicted growth were calculated for each growing season and then compared between the study sites and across the study periods to evaluate changes in growth patterns which could be attributed to EM field effects. For aspen and red maple, the results showed a stimulation of diameter growth at magnetic flux density levels of 1 to 7 milliGauss; height growth of red pine was increased at about the same exposure levels. There are no clear indications of an EM field effect on total annual diameter growth for either of the other two species.

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© 1993 International Society of Biometeorology. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01387529

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International Journal of Biometeorology