Current issue: 53(4)
The coverage of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) was modelled as a function of site and stand characteristics using the permanent sample plots of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) (Model 1). The sample sites consisted of mineral soil forests as well as fells and peatland sites. Annual variation in the bilberry yield (Model 2) was analysed based on measurements over 2001–2014 in the permanent sample plots (so-called MASI plots) in various areas of Finland. We derived annual bilberry yield indices from the year effects of Model 2 and investigated whether these indices could be used to estimate annual variation in bilberry crops in Finland. The highest bilberry coverage was found in mesic heath forests and fell forests. On peatlands the coverage was, on average, lower than on mineral soil sites; the peatland sites with most bilberry coverage were meso-oligotrophic and oligotrophic spruce mires and oligotrophic pine mires. Our bilberry yield indices showed similar variation to those derived from the mean annual berry yields reported and calculated earlier using the MASI plots; the correlation between the indices was 0.795. This approach to calculating annual berry yield indices is a promising way for estimating total annual bilberry yields over a given period of time. Models 1 and 2 can be used in conjunction with the Miina et al.’s (2009) bilberry yield model when bilberry coverage, average annual yield and annual variation in the yield are to be predicted in forest planning.
Fresh and herb-rich upland forest sites in the north-western part of the central boreal vegetation zone in Finland were studied with respect to vegetation structure and vegetation-environment relationships (soil, stand characteristics). Two fresh heath vegetation data sets, one from the northern boreal zone and the other from the central boreal zone, were compared with the data of this study using multivariate methods.
The variation in heath forest vegetation within the climatically uniform area was mainly determined by the fertility of the soil (primarily Ca and Mg) and the stage of stand development. N, P and K content of the humus layer varied little between the vegetation classes. Fertile site types occurred, in general, on coarse-textured soils than infertile site types, may be due to the fact that the sample plots were located in various bedrock and glacial till areas, i.e. to sampling effects.
The place of the vegetational units of the study area in the Finnish forest site type system is discussed. The vegetation of the area has features in common with the northern boreal zone as well as the southern part of the central boreal vegetation zone. The results lend some support to the occurrence of a northern Myrtillus type or at least that intermediate form of fresh and herb-rich mineral soil sites commonly occur in the studied area. It is argued that the older name Dryopteris-Myrtillus type is more suitable than Geranium-Oxalis-Myrtillus type for herb-rich heath sites in the study area.