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Articles by Lars Östlund

Category: Research article

article id 173, category Research article
Erik Hellberg, Torbjörn Josefsson, Lars Östlund. (2009). The transformation of a Norway spruce dominated landscape since pre-industrial times in northern Sweden: the influence of modern forest management on forest structure. Silva Fennica vol. 43 no. 5 article id 173. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.173
Logging history and the study of reference conditions in Scandinavian boreal forests has tended to focus on Scots pine dominated ecosystems. This paper presents a regional study of pre-industrial forest conditions and examines the effects of the industrial exploitation of ecosystems dominated by Norway spruce in northern Sweden. Historical records covering a period which preceded industrial logging in the study area (1917–1927) were used to obtain quantitative data on forest structure and influence of forest fires. These data were compared with a modern data set (2003) to analyse changes due to the industrial transformation of the forest. The early 20th century landscape was dominated by old, multi-cohorted spruce forests and mixed coniferous forests. It was found that fire affected both the structure and composition of the landscape. In post-burnt areas, even-aged forests dominated by deciduous species were the principal forest type. Between the early and modern data sets, profound changes in tree-species composition and age structure were documented. While the total volume of deciduous species increased substantially, the coverage of forests dominated by deciduous species decreased. There was also a significant increase in pine-dominated forests and in the total volume of pine. The industrial transformation of the studied landscapes has had profound effects on the structure of spruce forests, but much less so on deciduous forests. The study concludes that the present forest structure is a function of past management regimes, and that future transformations of the landscape will continue, thus affecting the natural variability and biodiversity of the forests.
  • Hellberg, Tunstigen 10, SE-831 43 Östersund, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Josefsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail: torbjorn.josefsson@svek.slu.se (email)
  • Östlund, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 507, category Research article
Tysk Staffan Ericsson, Lars Östlund, Rikard Andersson. (2003). Destroying a path to the past – the loss of culturally scarred trees and change in forest structure along Allmunvägen, in mid-west boreal Sweden. Silva Fennica vol. 37 no. 2 article id 507. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.507
The tradition to blaze trees to mark trails and boundaries is very old in northern Scandinavia. The disappearance of culturally modified trees (i.e. trees with trail blazes) and changes in forest structure along a section of an old bridle trail in boreal Sweden was analyzed using historical maps and forest surveys from the period 1876 to the year 2000. Remaining blazed trees were located during a field study and selected scars were dated. In total 104 scarred living and dead trees were found. The scars originated from the early 1500s to the early 1900s. Analysis of the forest surveys showed that the forest along the trail was dominated by older trees, and that the majority of the scarred trees probably were present, throughout the 19th century. By the mid 20th century logging had begun to affect the tree age along the trail and in 1974 no stands older than 180 years were present. A conservative estimate shows that around 90% of the original blazed trees have vanished. The trail was interpreted as have being lined for centuries with scarred trees which gradually have been destroyed during the 20th century. Culturally modified trees constitute an unique source of information for understanding pattern of old trails as well as of past human land use and movement in the landscape prior to the 20th century. This biological archive have to a large extent been destroyed by forestry activities and it is therefore very important to survey, recount and protect the trees that are still present.
  • Ericsson, SLU, Dept. of Forest Vegetation Ecology, S-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail: staffan@delta.se (email)
  • Östlund, SLU, Dept. of Forest Vegetation Ecology, S-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Andersson, SLU, Dept. of Forest Vegetation Ecology, S-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:

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