Current issue: 55(2)
Combining research into forest management stand conditions and wood supply chain processes has been missing from earlier forestry studies. There is a clear need to develop more cost-efficient small-diameter wood production, harvesting and transportation methods from first thinning, which could be used for either industrial or energy wood purposes. This study considers the total cost for small-diameter wood originating from young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated stands. Pine pulpwood is the most harvested and most used roundwood assortment, use of which is expected to rise following new pulp-mill investments in Finland. In addition, utilisation of small-diameter trees directly for energy purposes has been increasing steadily in recent years. The aim of the study was to determine the cost-reduction potential of alternative forest management options and supply chains for small diameter-wood in the regional case of South Savo in eastern Finland. The total costs of three distinct scenarios were studied on the basis of forest management, first-thinning harvesting methods, and transportation: 1) industrial wood, 2) delimbed energy wood, and 3) whole trees for energy purposes. The cost-reduction potential for energy-wood supply chains from first thinning was compared to the industrial supply chain. Small-diameter delimbed wood delivered straight for energy purposes was found to be the most cost-efficient as far as the total cost of the supply chain is concerned. More cost-efficient small-diameter wood processes can be found by linking forest stand simulations with supply chain analysis.
Various environmental conditions (heat waves and drought events) strongly affect leaf and xylem phenology. Disentangling the influence of temperature, precipitation and soil moisture content (AWR) on the forest productivity remains an important research area. We analyzed the impact of climate variability on the leaf phenology (10 sample trees) and radial growth (17 sample trees) of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). The study was conducted on 130-year-old European beech trees growing in a temperate forest stand in the Czech Republic. Detailed 20-year phenological monitoring was performed at the study site (1992–2011). As expected, leaf phenological events were mainly driven by the growing season temperatures. Leaf unfolding was highly affected positively by spring temperatures and the top-layer (to 40 cm) AWR in March. The correlation of tree-ring width with the interpolated climate data was positive significant for the growing season AWR and precipitation signal. Furthermore, the water availability in the top soil layer was found to be an important predictor of tree growth and extremely low growth occurrence. The extended phenological growing season, which was caused by a temperature increase, was not followed by an increased tree-ring width. The examined relationships point out the significance of the water availability in the top soil layer in European beech stands.
Populations at species’ range margins are expected to show lower genetic diversity than populations at the core of the range. Yet, long-lived, widespread tree species are expected to be resistant to genetic impoverishment, thus showing comparatively high genetic diversity within populations and low differentiation among populations. Here, we study the distribution of genetic variation in the pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) at its range margin in Finland at two hierarchical scales using 15 microsatellite loci. At a regional scale, we compared variation within versus among three oak populations. At a landscape scale, we examined genetic structuring within one of these populations, growing on an island of ca 5 km2. As expected, we found the majority of genetic variation in Q. robur to occur within populations. Nonetheless, differentiation among populations was markedly high (FST = 0.12) compared with values reported for populations of Q. robur closer to the core of its range. At the landscape level, some spatial and temporal sub-structuring was observed, likely explained by the history of land-use on the island. Overall, Q. robur fulfils the expectation of the central-marginal hypothesis of high differentiation among marginal populations, but the notable population differentiation has most likely been influenced also by the long, ongoing fragmentation of populations. Finnish oak populations may still be adjusting to the drastic habitat changes of the past centuries. Preservation of genetic variation within the remaining stands is thus an important factor in the conservation of Q. robur at its range margin.
We investigated if coarse-resolution satellite data from the MODIS sensor can be used for regional monitoring of insect disturbances in Fennoscandia. A damage detection method based on z-scores of seasonal maximums of the 2-band Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI2) was developed. Time-series smoothing was applied and Receiver Operating Characteristics graphs were used for optimisation. The method was developed in fragmented and heavily managed forests in eastern Finland dominated by Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) (pinaceae) and with defoliation of European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer Geoffr.) (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae) and common pine sawfly (Diprion pini L.) (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae). The method was also applied to subalpine mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. Czerepanovii N.I. Orlova) forests in northern Sweden, infested by autumnal moth (Epirrita autumnata Borkhausen) and winter moth (Operophtera brumata L.). In Finland, detection accuracies were fairly low with 50% of the damaged stands detected, and a misclassification of healthy stands of 22%. In areas with long outbreak histories the method resulted in extensive misclassification. In northern Sweden accuracies were higher, with 75% of the damage detected and a misclassification of healthy samples of 19%. Our results indicate that MODIS data may fail to detect damage in fragmented forests, particularly when the damage history is long. Therefore, regional studies based on these data may underestimate defoliation. However, the method yielded accurate results in homogeneous forest ecosystems and when long-enough periods without damage could be identified. Furthermore, the method is likely to be useful for insect disturbance detection using future medium-resolution data, e.g. from Sentinel‑2.
Stored nutrient reserves are closely correlated with survival and growth of transplanted seedlings. Previous studies have proven that combining pre-hardening fertilization (PF) with fall fertilization (FF) built seedling nutrient reserves more effectively; however, their effect on transplanting performance is poorly documented. We investigated the independent and interacting effects of 2 levels of PF and 4 levels of FF on seedling growth, nutrient acquisition and accumulation during different growth phases 1 year after transplanting of Quercus variabilis Blume in a nursery. High PF benefited nutrient reserves and subsequent transplanted seedling growth and tissue nutrient storage at the end of the rapid growth and hardening phases. Fall fertilization with 36 mg N increased stem dry mass and tissue nutrient content at the end of the hardening phase. At the conclusion of establishment, PF and FF showed a significant interaction for N and K uptake from soil. At the end of the rapid growth and hardening phases, high PF consistently increased nutrient uptake. Enhanced N and K uptake occurred following application of 36 mg N of FF at the end of the hardening phase. Distinct roles for PF and FF on 3 phases of transplanted seedlings demonstrated the necessity to evaluate fertilization in terms of nutrient reserves and subsequent transplanting performance in consecutive phases. Combining 100 mg N seedling–1 during pre-hardening with 36 mg N seedling–1 during fall yielded ideal transplanting performance for Quercus variabilis seedlings.
The quantification of the contribution of tropical forests to global carbon stocks and climate change mitigation requires availability of data and tools such as allometric equations. This study made available volume and biomass models for eighteen tree species in a semi-deciduous tropical forest in West Africa. Generic models were also developed for the forest ecosystem, and basic wood density determined for the tree species. Non-destructive sampling approach was carried out on five hundred and one sample trees to analyse stem volume and biomass. From the modelling of volume and biomass as functions of diameter at breast height (Dbh) and stem height, logarithmic models had better predictive capabilities. The model validation showed that in absence of data on height, models using Dbh only as variable was an alternative. The comparison of basic wood densities to data published in literature enabled to conclude that the non-destructive sampling was a good approach to determining reliable basic wood density. The comparative analysis of species-specific models in this study with selected generic models for tropical forests indicated low probability to identify effective generic models with good predictive ability for biomass. Given tree species richness of tropical forests, the study demonstrated the hypothesis that species-specific models are preferred to generic models, and concluded that further research should be oriented towards development of specific models to cover the full range of dominant tree species of African forests.
Habitat loss and degradation are the main threats to biodiversity worldwide. For example, nearly 80% of peatlands in southern Finland have been drained. There is thus a need to safeguard the remaining pristine mires and to restore degraded ones. Ants play a pivotal role in many ecosystems and like many keystone plant species, shape ecosystem conditions for other biota. The effects of mire restoration and subsequent vegetation succession on ants, however, are poorly understood. We inventoried tree stands, vegetation, water-table level, and ants (with pitfall traps) in nine mires in southern Finland to explore differences in habitats, vegetation and ant assemblages among pristine, drained (30–40 years ago) and recently restored (1–3 years ago) pine mires. We expected that restoring the water-table level by ditch filling and reconstructing sparse tree stands by cuttings will recover mire vegetation and ants. We found predictable responses in habitat structure, floristic composition and ant assemblage structure both to drainage and restoration. However, for mire-specialist ants the results were variable and longer-term monitoring is needed to confirm the success of restoration since these social insects establish perennial colonies with long colony cycles. We conclude that restoring the water-table level and tree stand structure seem to recover the characteristic vegetation and ant assemblages in the short term. This recovery was likely enhanced because drained mires still had both acrotelm and catotelm, and connectedness was still reasonable for mire organisms to recolonize the restored mires either from local refugia or from populations of nearby mires.
A time study was conducted to determine whether stem crowding had any impact on harvester productivity in Eucalyptus grandis stands. This represents an important element when trying to balance the advantages and disadvantages of coppice management in fast growing plantations designated for mechanized harvesting (i.e. machine felling, delimbing, debarking and cross-cutting). The study material consisted of 446 coppice stems, half of which grew as single stems per stool and half as double stems per stool as a result of different coppice reduction strategies. The dataset was balanced and randomized, with both subsets replicating exactly the same stem size distribution and the single and double stems alternating randomly. Harvester productivity ranged between 6 and 50 m3 under bark per productive machine hour, following the variation of tree diameter from 10 to 40 cm at breast height (1.37 m according to South African standards). Regression analysis indicated that both tree size and stem crowding (e.g. one or two stems per stool) had a significant effect on harvester productivity, which increased with stem size and decreased with stem crowding. However, operator experience may overcome the effect of stem crowding, which was not significant when the harvester was manned by a highly experienced operator. In any case, the effect of stem size was much greater than that of stem crowding, which resulted in a cost difference of less than 10%. However, this figure excludes the possible effects of stem crowding on volume recovery and stem development, which should be addressed in the future.
A new sampling design, the local pivotal method (LPM), was combined with the micro stand approach and compared with the traditional systematic sampling design for estimation of forest stand variables. The LPM uses the distance between units in an auxiliary space – in this case airborne laser scanning (ALS) data – to obtain a well-spread sample. Two sets of reference plots were acquired by the two sampling designs and used for imputing data to evaluation plots. The first set of reference plots, acquired by LPM, made up four imputation alternatives (varying number of reference plots) and the second set of reference plots, acquired by systematic sampling design, made up two alternatives (varying plot radius). The forest variables in these alternatives were estimated using the nonparametric method of most similar neighbor imputation, with the ALS data used as auxiliary data. The relative root mean square error (RelRMSE), stem diameter distribution error index and suboptimal loss were calculated for each alternative, but the results showed that neither sampling design, i.e. LPM vs. systematic, offered clear advantages over the other. It is likely that the obtained results were a consequence of the small evaluation dataset used in the study (n = 30). Nevertheless, the LPM sampling design combined with the micro stand approach showed potential for improvement and might be a competitive method when considering the cost efficiency.
The occurrence of moose damage was studied using data from three National Forest Inventories (NFIs) accomplished between 1986 and 2008 in Finland. The combined data included a total of 97 390 young stands. The proportion of moose damage increased from 3.6% to 8.6% between the 8th NFI (1986–1994) and the 10th NFI (2004–2008). The majority (75%) of the damage occurred in Scots pine-dominated stands. The proportion of damage was higher in aspen-dominated stands than in stands dominated by any other tree species. The tree species mixture also had a clear effect on the occurrence of damage. Pure Scots pine stands had less damage than mixed Scots pine stands, and moose damage decreased linearly with the increasing proportion of Scots pine. Stands on mineral soil had more frequent moose damage than stands on peatlands. The fertility class of the site had no straightforward effect on the damage frequency. Artificially regenerated stands had more damage than naturally regenerated stands. Accomplished soil preparation measures and the need for thinning or clearing operations increased moose damage. High proportions of moose damage in young stands were found around the country. In the 10th NFI, the largest concentration of damage was found in southwestern Finland. Our study shows the temporal and spatial changes in the occurrence of moose damage and pinpoints some important silvicultural factors affecting the relative risk of young stands over a large geographical area.
To promote the growth and survival of regenerated forests, site preparation prior to tree planting on clearcuts is necessary. This is often performed with scarifiers, either through trenching or mounding. Mounding is generally considered better in a plant survival perspective but is inefficient on obstacle-rich clearcuts. By utilising machine vision through e.g. remote sensing methods, new strategies can enable efficient mound positioning. In this paper, three realistic strategies utilizing ideal clearcut object identification through machine vision have been developed that can be used for more efficient mounding. The results show that mounding efficiency can be significantly improved with a new mound positioning strategy that employs ideal object identification, especially on obstacle-rich clearcuts.
The aim of the study was to update the information pertaining to mechanized tree-planting activity in Finland in 2013 and its success factors. All businesses providing a mechanized tree-planting service were interviewed and asked to describe their equipment and activities, identify critical success factors (CSFs), and suggest areas for improvement. In 2013, 31 planting machines (18 Bracke P11.a, 11 M-Planter and 2 Risutec) operated by 22 businesses planted approximately 4.7 million seedlings on 2663 hectares. CSFs included expertise of planting machine operators, high quality planting, adequate amount of work, stoniness, and removal of slash. Based on the survey, some recommendations for improving mechanized planting work can be made. Firstly, improving the cost-efficiency of mechanized planting is necessary to enhance businesses’ profitability. Secondly, worksite selection is crucial as stoniness, stumps and slash debris diminish productivity. Lastly, the popularity of mechanized planting in the future will benefit from more marketing. Many businesses were unwilling to increase the area of service, invest in new equipment, or increase the volume of planting work but they believed that mechanized planting will become more popular in the near future.