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Articles by Pirkko Velling

Category: Research article

article id 7731, category Research article
Anneli Viherä-Aarnio, Pirkko Velling. (2017). Growth, wood density and bark thickness of silver birch originating from the Baltic countries and Finland in two Finnish provenance trials. Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 4 article id 7731. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7731
Highlights: Baltic origins of silver birch had significantly thicker bark than the Finnish ones; In terms of wood density, no consistent difference was detected between the Baltic and Finnish origins; Incidence of darkened core wood increased with increasing seed origin latitude; Frost cracks were most common in south Latvian origins grown in central Finland.

Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) seed origins from the Baltic countries and from Finland were compared in terms of growth, wood density, bark thickness and the incidence of darkened core wood, frost cracks and decay, and the effect of seed origin latitude was examined in two Finnish provenance trials. The material consisted of 21 stand and single tree origins ranging from latitudes 54° to 63°N from the Baltic countries and Finland. The trials, measured at the age of 22 years, were located at Tuusula (60°21´N), southern Finland and at Viitasaari (63°11´N), central Finland. The Baltic origins were superior to the Finnish ones in the southern trial regarding height, whereas in central Finland the Finnish origins grew better. There was no consistent difference between the Baltic and the Finnish group of origins in wood density. Bark thickness decreased with increasing seed origin latitude. The Baltic origins had significantly thicker bark than the Finnish origins. A moderate positive correlation was detected between the seed origin latitude and the incidence of darkened core wood in the southern trial, where the darkened core wood was more common in the Finnish origins than in the Baltic ones. The highest proportion of trees with frost cracks was detected in the south-western Latvian origins growing in central Finland. Seed transfers from the Baltic would have an increasing effect on the bark thickness of birch logs, but no or only minor effects on wood density. Based on our results, there is no reason to recommend the use of non-native Baltic seed origins in Finland instead of the native locally adapted seed sources.

  • Viherä-Aarnio, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Green technology, P.O. Box 2, FI-00791 Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: anneli.vihera-aarnio@luke.fi (email)
  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail: pike.velling@phnet.fi
article id 226, category Research article
Anneli Viherä-Aarnio, Pirkko Velling. (2008). Seed transfers of silver birch (Betula pendula) from the Baltic to Finland – effect on growth and stem quality. Silva Fennica vol. 42 no. 5 article id 226. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.226
Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) seed origins from the Baltic countries, Finland and Russia were compared for survival, growth and stem quality, and the effect of latitudinal seed transfer distance examined in two provenance trials. The trials were located on moist upland forest soils at Tuusula (60°21’N) in southern Finland and at Viitasaari (63°11’N) in central Finland. The material consisted of 21 stand and single tree origins ranging from latitudes 54° to 63°N. Survival, height, dbh, relative stem taper, stem volume/ha and the proportion of trees with a stem defect (vertical branch or forked stem), were assessed when the trees were 22 years old. Significant differences were detected among the origins regarding all the measured traits in both trials. Southern Finnish origins produced the highest volume per unit area in central Finland, whereas Estonian and north Latvian stand seed origins, as well as the southern Finnish plus tree origins, were the most productive ones in southern Finland. The more southern the origin, the higher was the proportion of trees with a stem defect in both trials. The latitudinal seed transfer distance had a significant but relatively small effect on survival, stem volume/ha and proportion of trees with a stem defect. The proportion of trees with a stem defect increased linearly in relation to the seed transfer distance from the south. The relationship of both survival and stem volume/ha to the seed transfer distance was curvilinear. Volume/ha was increased by transferring seed from ca. 2 degrees of latitude from the south. A longer transfer from the south, as well as transfer from the north, decreased the yield.
  • Viherä-Aarnio, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: anneli.vihera-aarnio@metla.fi (email)
  • Velling, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 576, category Research article
Anneli Viherä-Aarnio, Pirkko Velling. (2001). Micropropagated silver birches (Betula pendula) in the field – performance and clonal differences. Silva Fennica vol. 35 no. 4 article id 576. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.576
Micropropagated and seed-born silver birches (Betula pendula Roth) were compared for survival, height growth and occurrence of biotic damage (voles, hares, mooses, stem lesions and cankers) in field trials in southern Finland. The material consisted of 11 clones and 10 different lots of seedlings growing in 10 field trials, established in clear-cut forest cultivation areas. The plants were 6–7 years old. The micropropagated and seed-born material types did not significantly differ from each other as regards survival, height growth and frequencies of damage caused by biotic agents. Large and significant differences were, however, detected in survival, height and frequencies of all types of biotic damage between single clones. Careful selection and testing of birch clones in field conditions is recommended before wide-scale commercial micropropagation and practical forest cultivation takes place.
  • Viherä-Aarnio, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box. 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: anneli.vihera-aarnio@metla.fi (email)
  • Velling, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box. 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Research note

article id 659, category Research note
Anneli Viherä-Aarnio, Pirkko Velling. (1999). Growth and stem quality of mature birches in a combined species and progeny trial. Silva Fennica vol. 33 no. 3 article id 659. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.659
The growth and stem quality of silver birch (Betula pendula), downy birch (B. pubescens) and paper birch (B. papyrifera) were compared in a 32-year-old field trial in southern Finland. The material consisted of different unselected stand origins and progenies of phenotypically selected plus trees of silver and downy birch from southern Finland and differing stand origins of paper birch from the North-West Territories, Canada. Growth, yield and a number of stem quality traits, including taper, sweep, stem defects, heights of different crown limits and length of the veneer timber part of the stem were measured or observed. The native Finnish silver and downy birches were superior to paper birch in terms of both yield and stem quality, silver birch being the best. Progenies of silver birch plus trees were better than the stand origin, indicating that the former are able to reach high quality veneer log size in a shorter time than unselected material. The cultivation of paper birch can not be considered viable in Finland.
  • Viherä-Aarnio, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: anneli.vihera-aarnio@metla.fi (email)
  • Velling, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Article

article id 5605, category Article
Matti Haapanen, Marja-Leena Annala, Pirkko Velling. (1997). Progeny trial estimates of genetic parameters for growth and quality traits in Scots pine. Silva Fennica vol. 31 no. 1 article id 5605. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a8506

Estimates of individual heritability and genetic correlation are presented for a set of 10 growth and quality traits based on data from 16 Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) progeny trials in Finland. Seven of the traits (tree height, stem diameter, crown width, Pilodyn value, branch diameter, branch angle and branch number) were objectively measured, whereas three traits (stem straightness, branching score and overall score) were assessed visually. The genetic correlations were mostly moderate or low, and favourable from the tree breeder's point of view. All variables related to tree size correlated relatively strongly and positively. Tree height exhibited a more favourable genetic relationship with the crown form traits than diameter, the latter showing positive correlation with branch diameter. Except for the slight negative correlation between branch angle and branch diameter, the branching traits were not notably correlated. The pilodyn value was positively correlated with stem diameter, reflecting negative correlation between diameter growth and wood density. The highest genetic correlations occurred among the two visually evaluated quality scores and branch diameter. All of the heritabilities were less than 0.4. Overall score, Pilodyn, branch angle, branching score and tree height showed the highest heritability.

  • Haapanen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Annala, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5513, category Article
Tapani Pöykkö, Pirkko Velling. (1993). Inheritance of the narrow-crowned Scots pine E 1101, "Kanerva pine". Silva Fennica vol. 27 no. 3 article id 5513. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15674

There is some evidence to support the hypothesis that crown form of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) can be inherited either mono- or polygenically. In Finland, a narrow, horizontal whorl-layer structure is striking in about one half of the offspring of a genotype E 1101, ”Kanerva pine”. The offspring are characterized by a narrow crown, short and thin branches at an angle of 90° to the stem, minimal tapering and by numerous long, lateral shoots, long needles and the common occurrence of three-needled fascicles among the dwarf shoots. These features are connected to a high growth rate, a high harvest index and to tortuosity of the stem. It is suggested that this complex of characters is determined by a single dominant gene.

In this study, several offspring of the E 1101 were classified into three form types in seven sets of progeny test data, including progenies of various ages having E 1101 as either maternal or paternal parent as well as open pollinated progenies of second-generation offspring. A segregation close to 1:1 was found both in the first and in the second-generation progenies when wilds and intermediates were combined and compared with Kanervas. The result indicates that the three types of Kanerva form can be due to a single dominant allele (K). Kanervas are heterozygous (Kk) for the allele and wilds are recessive homozygotes (kk) resulting 1:1 segregation in their progenies. However, there were also remarkable deviations from the expected distribution. The differences as well as the inheritance pattern are discussed.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Pöykkö, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5275, category Article
Pirkko Velling, Gérard Nepveu. (1986). Männyn puuaineen laadun ja tuotoksen vaihtelu suomalaisessa provenienssikoesarjassa. Silva Fennica vol. 20 no. 3 article id 5275. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15454
English title: Variation of wood quality and yield in a Finnish series of provenance trials on Scots pine.

The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of the origin of seeds and the location of cultivation of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) on certain properties particularly important to the pulp industry. The research material consisted of six parallel trials of the same 12 provenances. Increment cores were taken of a total of 1,267 sample trees, 19 years old. The location of the trial site generally affected the properties to a larger extent than the origin of the seed. The effect of the variation of wood density and fibre yield on the cultivation values of the provenances was only a few percentages on average, however, at most the effect was nearly 10%. Eastern Finnish provenances adapted well to western Finnish conditions.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish and French.

  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Nepveu, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5204, category Article
Pirkko Velling, P. M. A. Tigerstedt. (1984). Harvest index in a progeny test of Scots pine with reference to the model of selection. Silva Fennica vol. 18 no. 1 article id 5204. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15383

Harvest index and number of associated traits were measured in a 16-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) progeny test based on full-sib families. It was found that harvest index is a highly heritable trait and that a number of yield components are positively correlated with it. It is suggested that harvest index and tree ideotypes should be the basis of selection in cultivated trees. It is emphasized that an integrated approach to tree improvement including silviculture, soil science, industrial and economic constraints and tree breeding is a prerequisite for maximal response.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Tigerstedt, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5063, category Article
Pirkko Velling. (1980). Variation in the density of wood of different Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) origins in provenance tests. Silva Fennica vol. 14 no. 1 article id 5063. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15004

The study concerned with variations in the density of the wood of different provenances in provenance test series of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) RH. Karst.), established in 1931. Increment cores were collected from 10 sample trees from each sample block. The density of the pine wood was noticeably higher than that of spruce. The basic density was in average 450 kg/m3 for Scots pine, and the variation between different origins was 3–9%, while the average basic density of spruce was under 400 kg/m3 and the variation 3–10%. Statistically significant differences were found between the mean basic densities of different provenances in all sub-experiments for spruce, but only in one pine sub-experiment. However, these differences were not due to the altitude or latitude of the place of the origin. Volume growth seems to be the dominant component in the formation of dry matter yield.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Velling, ORCID ID:E-mail:

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