Structure of old Pinus sylvestris dominated forest stands along a geographic and human impact gradient in mid-boreal Fennoscandia
Lilja S., Kuuluvainen T. (2005). Structure of old Pinus sylvestris dominated forest stands along a geographic and human impact gradient in mid-boreal Fennoscandia. Silva Fennica vol. 39 no. 3 article id 377. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.377
Stand structural characteristics were examined in old Pinus sylvestris dominated sites in three regions along a broad geographic and human impact gradient in mid-boreal Fennoscandia. The study regions were: 1) Häme in south-western Finland, with a long history of forest utilization, 2) Kuhmo in north-eastern Finland, with a more recent history of intensive forest utilization, and 3) Vienansalo in Russian Karelia, still characterized by a large near-natural forest landscape. Within each region the sampled sites were divided into three human impact classes: 1) near-natural stands, 2) stands selectively logged in the past, and 3) managed stands treated with thinnings. The near-natural and selectively logged stands in Häme and Kuhmo had a significantly higher Picea proportion compared to stands in Vienansalo. In comparison, the proportions of deciduous tree volumes were higher in near-natural stands in Vienansalo compared to near-natural stands in Häme. The pooled tree diameter distributions, both in near-natural and selectively logged stands, were descending whereas managed stands had a bimodal diameter distribution. Structural diversity characteristics such as broken trunks were most common in near-natural stands and in stands selectively logged in the past. The results demonstrate the higher structural complexity of near-natural stands and stands selectively logged in the past compared to managed stands, and highlight that old near-natural stands and stands selectively logged in the past vary widely in their structures. This obviously reflects both their natural variability but also various combinations of pre-industrial land use and human impact on fire disturbance. These factors need to be acknowledged when using “natural” forest structures as a reference in developing strategies for forest management, restoration and nature conservation.
Received 8 April 2004 Accepted 23 May 2005 Published 31 December 2005