Current issue: 56(2)
Management of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Norway requires a forest growth and yield model suitable for describing stand dynamics of even-aged forests under contemporary climatic conditions with and without the effects of silvicultural thinning. A system of equations forming such a stand-level growth and yield model fitted to long-term experimental data is presented here. The growth and yield model consists of component equations for (i) dominant height, (ii) stem density (number of stems per hectare), (iii) total basal area, (iv) and total stem volume fitted simultaneously using seemingly unrelated regression. The component equations for stem density, basal area, and volume include a thinning modifier to forecast stand dynamics in thinned stands. It was shown that thinning significantly increased basal area and volume growth while reducing competition related mortality. No significant effect of thinning was found on dominant height. Model examination by means of various fit statistics indicated no obvious bias and improvement in prediction accuracy in comparison to existing models in general. An application of the developed stand-level model comparing different management scenarios exhibited plausible long-term behavior and we propose this is therefore suitable for national deployment.
Newly developed positioning systems in cut-to-length harvesters enable georeferencing of individual trees with submeter accuracy. Together with detailed tree measurements recorded during processing of the tree, georeferenced harvester data are emerging as a valuable tool for forest inventory. Previous studies have shown that harvester data can be linked to airborne laser scanner (ALS) data to estimate a range of forest attributes. However, there is little empirical evidence of the benefits of improved positioning accuracy of harvester data. The two objectives of this study were to (1) assess the accuracy of timber volume estimation using harvester data and ALS data acquired with different scanners over multiple years and (2) assess how harvester positioning errors affect merchantable timber volume predicted and estimated from ALS data. We used harvester data from 33 commercial logging operations, comprising 93 731 harvested stems georeferenced with sub-meter accuracy, as plot-level training data in an enhanced area-based inventory approach. By randomly altering the tree positions in Monte Carlo simulations, we assessed how prediction and estimation errors were influenced by different combinations of simulated positioning errors and grid cell sizes. We simulated positioning errors of 1, 2, …, 15 m and used grid cells of 100, 200, 300 and 400 m2. Values of root mean square errors obtained for cell-level predictions of timber volume differed significantly for the different grid cell sizes. The use of larger grid cells resulted in a greater accuracy of timber volume predictions, which were also less affected by positioning errors. Accuracies of timber volume estimates at logging operation level decreased significantly with increasing levels of positioning error. The results highlight the benefit of accurate positioning of harvester data in forest inventory applications. Further, the results indicate that when estimating timber volume from ALS data and inaccurately positioned harvester data, larger grid cells are beneficial.
Since fire frequency is expected to increase globally due to climate change, it is important to understand its effects on forest ecosystems. We studied the long-term patterns in species diversity, cover and composition of vascular plants and bryophytes after forest fire and the site-related factors behind them. Research was carried out in northwestern Estonia, using a chronosequence of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands, located on nutrient poor sandy soils, where fires had occurred 12, 23, 38, 69, 80 and 183 years ago. In every stand three 100 m2 vegetation plots were established to collect floristic and environmental information. The effects on floristic characteristics of time since fire, light, and soil variables were evaluated with linear mixed models, followed by backward variable selection. Compositional variation was analysed with non-metric multidimensional scaling, Multi-response Permutation Procedures, and Indicator Species Analysis. Altogether, 31 vascular plant and 39 bryophyte species were found in vegetation plots. The cover of the vascular plant and bryophyte layers increased with a longer time since fire. Soil and light variables impacted the richness of several vascular plant and bryophyte groups, whereas only the richness of liverworts and dwarf-shrubs correlated with time since fire. Considerable compositional differences were observed in vascular plant and bryophyte assemblages between recently vs. long-time ago burned stands. To conclude, time since fire significantly impacted compositional patterns of vascular plants and bryophytes in pine forests on nutrient poor soils, although time-related trends in species richness were less evident.
Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has been applied to estimate forest wood volume based on detailed 3D tree reconstructions from point cloud data. However, sources of uncertainties in the point cloud data (alignment and scattering errors, occlusion, foliage...) and the reconstruction algorithm type and parameterisation are known to affect the reconstruction, especially around finer branches. To better understand the impacts of these uncertainties on the accuracy of TLS-derived woody volume, high-quality TLS scans were collected in leaf-off conditions prior to destructive harvesting of two forest-grown common ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior L.; diameter at breast height ~28 cm, woody volume of 732 and 868 L). We manually measured branch diameters at 265 locations in these trees. Estimates of branch diameters and tree volume from Quantitative Structure Models (QSM) were compared with these manual measurements. The accuracy of QSM branch diameter estimates decreased with smaller branch diameters. Tree woody volume was overestimated (+336 L and +392 L) in both trees. Branches measuring < 5 cm in diameter accounted for 80% and 83% of this overestimation respectively. Filtering for scattering errors or improved coregistration approximately halved the overestimation. Range filtering and modified scanning layouts had mixed effects. The small branch overestimations originated primarily in limitations in scanner characteristics and coregistration errors rather than suboptimal QSM parameterisation. For TLS-derived estimates of tree volume, a higher quality point cloud allows smaller branches to be accurately reconstructed. Additional experiments need to elucidate if these results can be generalised beyond the setup of this study.
For constructing growth and yield models the concept of site index as measure of productivity is crucial. Here, we use nonlinear mixed-effects models (NLME) with random individual effects and nonlinear models with dummy variables as fixed individual effects (NLFE) to fit mechanistic growth functions to stem analysis data of the economically most important tree species in Zhongtiaoshan forest region, China. The Richards and Lundqvist function are formulated into five dynamic equations (R1, R2, L1, L2 and L3) applying the generalized algebraic difference approach (GADA), which inherit polymorphism, varying asymptotes and base-age invariance. According to Akaike information criterion the R1 model as NLFE fits height growth data of Pinus tabuliformis Carrière, Pinus armandii Franch., Quercus liaotungensis Koidz., Quercus aliena Blume and Betula platyphylla Sukaczev best, while for Quercus variabilis Blume R2 as NLFE fits height growth data best. For Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr L1 as NLME has been selected as best model, as R1 and R2 both as NLFE and NLME are not extrapolating the comparably short length of height growth data well enough. However, according to the root mean square error and bias differences between model fits of both the selected equation and the chosen model fitting approach are not so clear. Presented families of height growth curves serve as planning tools to identify site index and therefore assess productivity of forest stands in the studied region. A direct comparison of the productivity of forest stands of the same tree species is possible due to base-age invariance of the selected models.
Studies of the spatial patterns of dominant plant species may provide significant insights into processes and mechanisms that maintain stand stability. This study was performed in a permanent 1 ha plot in evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests on Tianmu Mountain. Based on two surveys (1996 and 2012), the dynamics of the spatial distribution pattern of the dominant population (Cyclobalanopsis myrsinifolia (Blume) Oersted) and the intra- and interspecific relationships between C. myrsinifolia and other dominant species populations were analyzed using Ripley’s K(r) function. We identified the importance value of a species in a community, which is the sum of the relative density, relative frequency, and relative dominance. The drivers of spatial distribution variation and the maintenance mechanisms of the forest were discussed. The results showed that the importance value of C. myrsinifolia within the community decreased over the past 16 years. The C. myrsinifolia population exhibited a significantly aggregated distribution within a spatial scale of 0–25 m in 1996 whereas it changed to a random distribution at scales larger than 5.5 m in 2012. From 1996 to 2012, the spatial distribution patterns between C. myrsinifolia and Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinsk. and between C. myrsinifolia and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook did not change significantly. In 1996, C. myrsinifolia and Daphniphyllum macropodum Miq. were positively associated at the scale of 0–25 m; this relationship was strongly significant at the scale of 6–10 m. However, there was no association between the populations of two species in terms of the spatial distribution at the scale of 0–25 m in 2012. Our findings indicate that the drivers of variation in the spatial distribution of the C. myrsinifolia population were intra- and interspecific mutual relationships as well the seed-spreading mechanism of this species.
Investing in planting genetically improved silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in Swedish plantations requires understanding how birch stands will develop over their entire rotation. Previous studies have indicated relatively low production of birch compared to Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). This could result from using unrepresentative basic data, collected from unimproved, naturally-regenerated birch (Betula spp.) growing on inventory plots often located in coniferous stands. The objective of this study was to develop a basal area development function of improved silver birch and evaluate production over a full rotation period. We used data from 52 experiments including planted silver birch of different genetic breeding levels in southern and central Sweden. The experimental plots were established on fertile forest sites and on former agricultural lands, and were managed with different numbers of thinnings and basal area removal regimes. The model best describing total stand basal area development was a dynamic equation derived from the Korf base model. The analysis of the realized gain trial for birch showed a good stability of the early calculated relative differences in basal area between tested genotypes over time. Thus, the relative difference in basal area might be with cautious used as representation of the realized genetic gain. On average forest sites in southern Sweden, improved and planted silver birch could produce between 6–10.5 m3 ha–1 year–1, while on fertile agriculture land the average productivity might be higher, especially with material coming from the improvement program. The performed analysis provided a first step toward predicting the effects of genetic improvement on total volume production and profitability of silver birch. However, more experiments are needed to set up the relative differences between different improved material.
Forestry and forest industries are important for regional income and employment in Norway as well as in most North European countries, but few studies exist about factors affecting the timber supply at regional level. The main objective of this study is to estimate aggregated regional timber supply elasticities for six regions in Norway. Thereby we also test for regional differences, focusing on wood prices, standing stock volume and interest rate as explanatory variables. We have used three different statistical models (fixed and random effects panel models and first difference models) on regional data from the Norwegian forest inventory on standing volume and official statistics on harvested volumes, interest rate and prices of sawlogs and pulpwood for the period 1996–2016. Statistically significant different price elasticities are found in 12 out of total 15 pairs of regions. The price elasticity was lower and the volume elasticity higher in the western region compared to the other regions. The first difference models are best with respect to specification tests. The use of region specific price elasticities gives slightly better fit for the panel data models than using a uniform price parameter. The results show that the econometric specification influence the parameter values, and it is thus complicated to directly compare results in different timber supply studies. Regional differences in timber supply are important to consider.
Climate change sets high pressures on the construction industry to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Due to the carbon storage properties and potential to use renewable resources efficiently, wooden multi-storey construction (WMC) is an interesting alternative for the construction industry to enhance sustainable development combined with the aesthetic and well-being benefits of wood perceived among many consumers. For forest industry firms, industrial wood construction is a possibility to seek for business opportunities and bring socio-economic benefits for local economies. Despite positive drivers, WMC still remains a niche even in the forest-rich countries.The purpose of our study is to add understanding on the WMC market development by conducting a systematic literature analysis on international peer-reviewed studies from the past 20 years. Our special focus is on the role of WMC in the housing markets studied from the perspectives of the demand, supply and local governance factors. As specific aims, we 1) synthesize the key barriers and enabling factors for the WMC market growth; 2) identify the actors addressed in the existing studies connected to the WMC market development, and 3) summarize research methods and analytical approaches used in the previous studies. As a systematic method to make literature searches in Web of Science and Scopus for years 2000–2020, we employed PRISMA guidelines. By using pre-determined keywords, our searches resulted in a sample of 696 articles, of which 42 full articles were after selection procedure included in-depth content analysis. Our results showed cost-efficiency gains from industrialized prefabrication and perceived sustainability benefits by consumers and architects enabled a WMC market diffusion. The lack of experiences on the WMC, and path dependencies to use concrete and steel continue to be key barriers for increased WMC. Although our research scope was the global WMC market development, most of the literature concerned the Nordic region. The key actors covered in the literature were businesses (e.g., contractors, manufacturers and architects) involved in the wood construction value-chains, while residents and actors in the local governance were seldomly addressed. Currently, case studies, the use of qualitative data sets and focus on the Nordic region dominate the literature. This hinders the generalizability of findings in different regional contexts. In the future, more research is needed on how sustainability-driven wood construction value-chains are successfully shaping up in different geographical regions, and how they could challenge the dominant concrete-based construction regime.