Current issue: 52(3)
This study examines the alternatives to include crown base height (CBH) predictions in operational forest inventories based on airborne laser scanning (ALS) data. We studied 265 field sample plots in a strongly pine-dominated area in northeastern Finland. The CBH prediction alternatives used area-based metrics of sparse ALS data to produce this attribute by means of: 1) Tree-level imputation based on the k-nearest neighbor (k-nn) method and full field-measured tree lists including CBH observations as reference data; 2) Tree-level mixed-effects model (LME) prediction based on tree diameter (DBH) and height and ALS metrics as predictors of the models; 3) Plot-level prediction based on analyzing the computational geometry and topology of the ALS point clouds; and 4) Plot-level regression analysis using average CBH observations of the plots for model fitting. The results showed that all of the methods predicted CBH with an accuracy of 1–1.5 m. The plot-level regression model was the most accurate alternative, although alternatives producing tree-level information may be more interesting for inventories aiming at forest management planning. For this purpose, k-nn approach is promising and it only requires that field measurements of CBH is added to the tree lists used as reference data. Alternatively, the LME-approach produced good results especially in the case of dominant trees.
Prunus serotina Ehrh. (black cherry) is one of the most important invaders in the European forests, but existing studies have given limited insight into demo-genetic factors underpinning the process of species invasion. Fine-scale genetic structure (FSGS) may deliver important knowledge on genetics of invasion contributing to efficient management of the alien species. Using eight microsatellites we investigated FSGS, clonal structure and relatedness in four black cherry populations which represented different stages of the invasive spread into Scots pine forests. Three populations were in a continuous forest complex and represented the colonization (Z_1) and established stages (Z_2 and Z_3). To investigate how colonization ability of the species is modified by landscape features, we analyzed an isolated population at colonization stage located in limited forest patch located in an agricultural landscape (R). Populations from continuous forest showed low yet significant positive FSGS with Sp = 0.0068 in Z_1, 0.0054 in Z_2, and 0.0066 in Z_3, while in R spatial structure was the strongest (0.0145). Considerable relatedness noted in population R suggests a dominance of within-population mating and recruitments, low immigration rate and limited seed dispersal, all of which led to the observed strong FSGS. Also, we presume that a founder effect likely involved during colonization of isolated forest patch R led to strong FSGS. In contrary, the seed shadow overlap in the populations from continuous forest prevented strong FSGS and facilitated colonization. Despite of low level of clonality, we argue that it may efficiently support black cherry seedling bank contributing to species invasiveness.
This explorative study examined practices of competence modelling in the forest sector organisations and how organisations anticipate changes in competence needs in the future. Semi-structured in-depth interviews (n=10) were conducted amongst forest sector experts in Finland and data was analysed by thematic analysis. The findings showed that the practices of modelling competences were diverse, most frequently used ones being superior-subordinate review discussions and quantitative competence surveys. In addition to these formal systems, informal modelling, especially on the team level and in smaller companies was also frequent. Organisations used competence modelling for several human resources functions, such as appraisal, motivation and promotion of employees. Surprisingly hiring and compensation functions were not mentioned. Perceptions related to competence modelling were generally speaking positive. The most important challenges were the lack of further actions and sometimes the extraordinary burden to the employees. When anticipating the future, the experts interviewed mentioned several commonly recognised trends, e.g., development of information technology, fragmentation of working life and structural changes in labour markets. All these require more generic competences related to information processing and personal self-management, especially respondents highlighted the importance of self-awareness skills. It is concluded that several useful practices for competence modelling already exist and that present study provides a basis for further quantitative further study.
The mean temperature during the potential growing season (April–September) may increase by 1 °C by 2030, and by 4 °C, or even more, by 2100, accompanied by an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 536–807 ppm, compared to the current climate of 1981–2010, in which atmospheric CO2 is at about 350 ppm. This may affect both the growth and frost hardiness of boreal trees. In this work, we studied the responses of height and autumn frost hardiness development in 22 half-sib genotypes of one-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings to elevated temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration under greenhouse conditions. The three climate treatments used were: T+1 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; T+4 °C above ambient and ambient CO2; and T+4 °C above ambient and elevated CO2 (700 ppm). The height growth rate and final height were both higher under T+4 °C compared to T+1 °C. Temperature increase also delayed the onset, and shortened the duration, of autumn frost hardiness development. Elevated CO2 did not affect the development of height or frost hardiness, when compared to the results without CO2 elevation under the same temperature treatment. Higher temperatures resulted in greater variation in height and frost hardiness development among genotypes. Three genotypes with different genetic backgrounds showed superior height growth, regardless of climate treatment; however, none showed a superior development of autumn frost hardiness. In future studies, clonal or full-sib genetic material should be used to study the details of autumn frost hardiness development among different genotypes.
Physical soil properties have a marked influence on the quality of forest sites and on the preconditions for forest growth and management. In this study, water retention characteristics (WRC) and related physical soil properties in addition to vegetation coverage and tree stand data were studied at upland forest sites in Finland. Fixed and mixed models between soil and site characteristics were formed to estimate physical and hydrologic soil characteristics and the site quality with indirect co-varying variables. In the present data, the site quality index (H100) shows a high coefficient of determination in respect to the temperature sum. It is also related to soil fine fraction content, topsoil pH and water retention at field capacity. The thickness of the humus layer is predictable from the pH and cover of xeric and mesic plant species. The soil fine fraction content (clay + silt) is closely related to water retention at field capacity, the soil layer and site type, and without WRC to the temperature sum and site index and type, as well as the slope angle. The soil bulk density is related to organic matter, depth (layer) or alternatively to organic matter, slope and field estimated textural class (fine, medium, coarse). Water retention characteristics were found to be best determinable by the fine fraction content, depth and bulk density. Water content and air-filled porosity at field capacity are closely related to the fine fraction. This study provides novel models for further investigations that aim at improved prediction models for forest growth, hydrology and trafficability.
Tree bucking, defined as the process in which a stem is segmented into shorter logs of varying lengths, has a significant effect on the value adding potential of a forest enterprise. Because of its importance in terms of correct product and length combinations, improper bucking can lead to financial losses. In this study, two treatments (OFF: quality bucking performed by the operator while using hot keys and ON: automatic bucking using the optimized suggestions from the harvester on-board computer; OBC) were tested in a Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) dominated stand located in Germany. Both treatments had the aim to maximize the value of a stem. The research took place in an 80-year old spruce and beech stand under a regenerative cutting. Fully-mechanized harvesting was performed with an 8-wheel Ponsse Bear single-grip harvester equipped with a H8 harvesting head. Results indicated that the product recovery of the two treatments differed by 4% in undamaged trees (no broken tree-tops or stems) to the benefit of manual bucking. However, the revenue of trees subjected to optimized bucking were up to 4% higher (in average 3%) than those of the manual bucking once expressed on a per cubic meter basis. Moreover, the harvesting productivity of the ON treatment was at the maximum 17% higher compared to the OFF treatment. Based on the results from this case study, the use of an optimization software in Norway spruce dominated stands with the aim to maximize the value of single stems showed promising results.
Adult pine weevils (Hylobius abietis (L.)) feed on the tender bark of branches and roots of mature conifer trees and on the stem bark of conifer seedlings. Their feeding on mature trees does not cause any economic damage, but their feeding on planted seedlings is so devastating that the pine weevil is considered one of the most important forest pest insects in Europe. We asked whether the pine weevil prefers seedlings over other regularly utilized food sources. This question is of particular interest because new approaches to seedling protection are based on decreasing any preference for seedlings by using less palatable plants or by enhancing their defence (by genetic selection or by methyl jasmonate treatment). In a laboratory choice experiment we tested pine weevil feeding preferences for seedlings compared with branches and roots from mature trees (separately for Norway spruce and Scots pine). Pine weevils preferred roots, but not branches, of Norway spruce over seedlings of the same species. With Scots pine there were no clear preferences, but the weevils showed a tendency to prefer roots over seedlings. These results provide support for seedling protection approaches that attempt to redirect pine feeding from planted seedlings to other food sources.
Megaplatypus mutatus is a major forest pest in Argentina and an emerging pest in Europe. In this study the multitrophic interactions between M. mutatus and associated fungi were assessed with a metagenomics approach (454-pyrosequencing). A total of 270 collection points from insect galleries from three locations in Argentina were pooled for pyrosequencing analyses. Two hosts, Populus deltoides and Casuarina cunninghamiana, were independently evaluated to characterize the fungal communities associated to M. mutatus; compare the culture-independent approach with previous culturing studies, in terms of data recovery related to the fungal community composition, and test the specificity of the fungal communities amongst locations and hosts. A Generalized Linear Mixed Model was performed to compare the fungal richness in each dataset, which showed no significant differences between taxa richness amongst locations. Principal Coordinates Analyses showed a separation between fungal communities within the same host, suggesting that host identity would not be crucial to determine the specificity in fungal communities. Candida insectalens and one Fusarium species, present in all hosts and locations, achieved 37.6% of the total relative frequency per taxa. These results complement the data from culturing methods previously reported, thus improving the accuracy and understanding of the fungal assemblages associated to M. mutatus.
The Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW), Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) is one of the most important pests in Castanea species worldwide. In 2012, it was found for the first time in Catalonia (Spain) and a year later, in the north of Spain (Cantabria). Today, it is present in 14 Spanish provinces. In search of biological control against the ACGW, several authors have previously found the relationship between the presence of some Fusarium Link species in necrotic galls and wasp mortality due to the production of different types of wall-degrading enzymes and entomopathogenic mycotoxins. The objective of this study was to investigate the mycobiota associated with necrotic galls to find interesting perspectives for biological control of the ACGW. For this purpose, in 2014, 119 necrotic galls of Castanea sativa Miller were plated to isolate and identify the associated fungi. The fungal isolates were identified by the morphology of the fruiting bodies and DNA analyses. From necrotic galls, 7 species of fungi were identified. Of these, we highlight three species of Fusarium Link as well as the presence of Gnomoniopsis smithogilvyi Shuttlew, Liew & Guest due to its toxic capacity. Further studies are required to verify the effectiveness of these fungal species as biocontrol agents against the ACGW.
Climate change has been estimated to increase the risk of storm damage in forests in Finland. There is a growing need for methods to obtain information on the extent and severity of storm damage after a storm occurrence. The first objective of this study was to test whether digital photographs taken from aircrafts flying at low-altitude can be utilized in locating storm-damaged areas and estimating the need for harvesting of wind-thrown trees. The second objective was to test the performance of selected estimators. Depending on distances between flight lines, plots on lines and the used estimator, the relative standard errors of storm area estimates varied between 7.7 and 48.7%. For the area for harvesting and volume of wind-thrown trees, the relative standard errors of estimates varied between 16.8 and 167.3%. Using forest area information from Multisource National Forest Inventory data improved the accuracy of the estimates. However, performance of a simple random sampling estimator and ratio estimator were quite similar. Lindeberg’s method for variance estimation based on adjacent lines was sensitive to line directions in relation to possible trends in storm-damaged area locations. Our results showed that the tested method could be used in estimating storm-damaged area provided that the network of flight lines and photographs on lines are sufficiently dense. The developed model for simulations can be utilized also with forthcoming storms as model’s parameters can be freely adjusted to meet, e.g., the intensity and extent of the storm.
There is growing interest in the use of Landsat data to enable forest monitoring over large areas. Free and open data access combined with high performance computing have enabled new approaches to Landsat data analysis that use the best observation for any given pixel to generate an annual, cloud-free, gap-free, surface reflectance image composite. Finland has a long history of incorporating Landsat data into its National Forest Inventory to produce forest information in the form of thematic maps and small area statistics on a variety of forest attributes. Herein we explore the spatial and temporal characteristics of the Landsat archive in the context of forest monitoring in Finland. The United States Geological Survey Landsat archive holds a total of 30 076 images (1972–2017) for 66 scenes (each 185 km by 185 km in size) representing the terrestrial area of Finland, of which 93.6% were acquired since 1984 with a spatial resolution of 30 m. Approximately 16.3% of the archived images have desired compositing characteristics (acquired within August 1 ±30 days, <70% cloud cover, 30 m spatial resolution). Data from the Landsat archive can augment forest monitoring efforts in Finland, provide new information for science and applications, and enable retrospective, systematic analyses to characterize the development of Finnish forests over the past three decades. The capacity to monitor trends based upon this multi-decadal record with the addition of new measurements is of benefit to multisource inventories and offers nationally comprehensive spatially-explicit datasets for a wide range of stakeholders and applications.