Current issue: 56(4)
Timber production and profitability were evaluated for spontaneously-regenerated mixtures on two formerly clearcut areas. The abandoned areas developed into birch-dominated (Betula pendula Roth and Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stands with successional ingrowth of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). An experiment with randomized treatments within blocks was established, using three management strategies and one unthinned control, resulting in variation in optimal rotation age, merchantable volume and species composition. The management strategies were evaluated based on total production (volume) by using measured growth data 42 years after clearcutting and the modelled future stand development. The long-term effects of spontaneous regeneration and management strategies were evaluated based on land expectation value (LEV) and compared with a fifth management strategy using artificial regeneration and intense thinnings. 12 years after treatment, at a stand age of 42 years, the unthinned control had produced the highest total stem volume. At interest rates of 2% or higher, the unmanaged forest was an economically viable strategy, even compared to an intensive management strategy with a preferred merchantable timber species. Interest rates clearly impacted the profitability of the different management strategies. This study shows that when spontaneous regeneration is successful and dense, the first competition release can have a high impact on the development of future crop trees and on the species mixture.