Current issue: 52(2)
Under compilation: 52(3)
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.
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.