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Articles containing the keyword 'forest dynamics'.

Category: Research article

article id 81, category Research article
Tuomas Aakala. (2011). Temporal variability of deadwood volume and quality in boreal old-growth forests. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 81. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.81
Reference deadwood volumes from natural forests for forest management and restoration are often derived from one-time measurements or from repeated measurements over short time-scales. Such an approach often assumes an equilibrium state between tree mortality and decomposition, which is questionable in many boreal forest ecosystems due to the occurrence of allogenic disturbances. Using a simulation model based on empirical estimates of tree mortality, disturbance chronologies and models of wood decay class dynamics, this study aimed at characterizing variability in the volume and quality of deadwood for the past 200 years. The variability of deadwood volumes in old-growth forests, arising from differences in disturbance regimes and differing decay rates, was exemplified in two areas of Picea abies-dominated forests in northern Europe. The results imply that with stable deadwood input and slow decay rates the deadwood volume may be in an equilibrium state. On the contrary, if moderate-severity disturbances occur such a state seems improbable. Both study areas displayed continuity in deadwood availability, although temporary paucity in the early decay classes with shortest residence times was also observed. The results stress the importance of understanding the dynamic nature of deadwood in old-growth forests, instead of the traditional view of deadwood as a static ecosystem component.
  • Aakala, Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tuomas.aakala@helsinki.fi (email)
article id 168, category Research article
Saila Varis, Anne Pakkanen, Aina Galofré, Pertti Pulkkinen. (2009). The extent of south-north pollen transfer in Finnish Scots pine. Silva Fennica vol. 43 no. 5 article id 168. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.168
In order to evaluate the possibility of long distance gene flow in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), we measured the amount and germinability of airborne pollen and flowering phenology in central, northern, and northernmost Finland during 1997–2000. Totally 2.3% of the detected germinable pollen grains were in the air prior to local pollen shedding. The mean number of germinable pollen grains m–3 air per day was lower prior to local pollen shedding, but in the year 2000 there were more germinable pollen grains in the air of central study site prior to local pollen shedding. Prior to the onset of pollen shedding, 7.5% of female strobili which we observed were receptive. On average female strobili became receptive three days earlier than local pollen shedding started. During the period of pollen shedding in the central study site, we detected germinable airborne pollen in the northern site in years 1997, 1999 and 2000. At the northermost site, we detected germinable airborne pollen during the pollen-shedding period of the northern site in 2000. Our detection of germinable airborne pollen and synchrony of strobili maturation from south to north suggest that populations of Scots pine in central and northern Finland may provide genetic material to populations in northern and northernmost Finland, respectively.
  • Varis, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: saila.varis@metla.fi (email)
  • Pakkanen, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Galofré, Passeig de l’estació 21, 5-1, 43800 Valls, Tarragona, Spain ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Pulkkinen, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Haapastensyrjä Breeding Station, Karkkilantie 247, FI-12600 Läyliäinen, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 556, category Research article
Timo Kuuluvainen, Juha Mäki, Leena Karjalainen, Hannu Lehtonen. (2002). Tree age distributions in old-growth forest sites in Vienansalo wilderness, eastern Fennoscandia. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 1 article id 556. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.556
The age and size of trees was sampled and measured on eight sample plots (0.2 ha each) within a Pinus sylvestris -dominated boreal forest landscape in Vienansalo wilderness, Russian Karelia. The fire history of these plots was obtained from a previous dendrochronological study. All the studied sample plots showed a wide and uneven distribution of tree ages, but the shape of the age distributions of trees as well as tree species composition varied substantially. Trees over 250 years of age occurred in every studied plot, despite its small size. This suggests that old Pinus were common and rather evenly distributed in the landscape matrix. The oldest Pinus tree was 525 years of age. The correlations between tree age and size were often weak or even nil. In Pinus the correlation between age and diameter was stronger than that between age and height. In the dominant tree species Pinus and Picea, the largest trees were not the oldest trees. The tree age distributions together with the fire history data indicated that the past fires have not been stand replacing, as many of the older Pinus had survived even several fires. Tree age classes that had regenerated after the last fire were most abundant and dominated by Picea and/or deciduous trees, while the trees established before the last fire were almost exclusively Pinus. The results suggest that periodic occurrence of fire is important for the maintenance of the Pinus-dominated landscape. This is because fire kills most Picea and deciduous trees and at the same time enhances conditions for Pinus regeneration, facilitated by available seed from the continuous presence of old fire-tolerant Pinus trees.
  • Kuuluvainen, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: timo.kuuluvainen@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Mäki, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Karjalainen, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Lehtonen, Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, P.O. Box 24, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 555, category Research article
Leena Karjalainen, Timo Kuuluvainen. (2002). Amount and diversity of coarse woody debris within a boreal forest landscape dominated by Pinus sylvestris in Vienansalo wilderness, eastern Fennoscandia. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 1 article id 555. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.555
The amount, variability, quality and spatial pattern of coarse woody debris (CWD) on mineral soil sites was studied within a natural Pinus sylvestris L. dominated boreal forest landscape in Russian Viena Karelia. Data on the total CWD was collected on 27 sample plots (20 m x 100 m) and data on large CWD was surveyed along four transects (40 m wide and up to 1000 m long). The mean volume of CWD (standing and down combined) was 69.5 m3 ha–1, ranging from 22.2 m3 ha–1 to 158.7 m3 ha–1 from plot to plot. On average, 26.9 m3 ha–1 (39%) of CWD was standing dead wood and 42.7 m3 ha–1 (61%) down dead wood. The CWD displayed a wide range of variation in tree species, tree size, stage of decay, dead tree type and structural characteristics, creating a high diversity of CWD habitats for saproxylic organisms. Large CWD was almost continuously present throughout the landscape and its overall spatial distribution was close to random, although a weak autocorrelation pattern was found at distances less than about 50 m. On small spatial scales total CWD showed wide variation up to a sample area of about 0.1 ha, beyond which the variation stabilized. The fire history variables of the sample plots were not related to the amount of CWD. This and the spatial pattern of CWD suggest that the CWD dynamics in this landscape was not driven by fire, but by more or less random mortality of trees due to autogenic causes of death.
  • Karjalainen, Department of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kuuluvainen, Department of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: timo.kuuluvainen@helsinki.fi (email)

Category: Review article

article id 36, category Review article
Tuomo Wallenius. (2011). Major decline in fires in coniferous forests – reconstructing the phenomenon and seeking for the cause. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 1 article id 36. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.36
Steep decline in forest fires about a century ago occurred in coniferous forests over large areas in North America and Fennoscandia. This poorly understood phenomenon has been explained by different factors in different regions. The objective of this study is to evaluate the validity of the four most commonly suggested causes of the decrease in forest fires: fire fighting, over-grazing, climate change and human influence. I compiled the available dendrochronological data and estimated the annually burned proportions of Pinus-dominated forests in four subcontinental regions during the past 500 years. These data were compared to the development of fire suppression, grazing pressure, climate and human livelihoods. The annually burned proportions declined over 90% in all studied regions. In three out of the four regions fires decreased decades before fire suppression began. Available drought data are annually well correlated with fires but could not explain the decrease of the level in annually burned areas. A rapid increase in the number of livestock occurred at the same time with the decrease in fires in the Western US but not in Fennoscandia. Hence, fire suppression in Central Fennoscandia and over-grazing in the Western US may have locally contributed to the reduction of burned areas. More general explanation is offered by human influence hypothesis: the majority of the past forest fires were probably caused by humans and the decrease in the annually burned areas was because of a decrease in human caused fires. This is in accordance with the old written records and forest fire statistics. The decrease in annually burned areas, both in Fennoscandia and the United States coincides with an economic and cultural transition from traditional livelihoods that are associated with high fire use to modern agriculture and forestry.
  • Wallenius, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tuomo.wallenius@metla.fi (email)

Category: Article

article id 5607, category Article
Paola Virgilietti, Joseph Buongiorno. (1997). Modeling forest growth with management data: A matrix approach for the Italian Alps. Silva Fennica vol. 31 no. 1 article id 5607. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a8508

This paper reports on the possibility and difficulties in building growth models from past Forest Administration records on cut and growth in the Italian Alps. As a case study, a matrix model was calibrated for uneven-aged forests in the Valsugana valley of the Trentino province. The model gave reliable predictions over 30 years, and plausible long-term forest dynamics, including steady-states that are similar to virgin forests. The results support the view that the current forests are deeply altered as to composition, relative to what would obtain from natural growth. They also support the concept of long cyclic changes in natural stands, gradually approaching a climax state. Shortcomings of the data are that they do not come from an experimental design, they are not always accurate, and they must be supplemented with other information, especially concerning mortality. Still, these cheap and available data can lead to workable models adapted to local conditions, with many management applications.

  • Virgilietti, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Buongiorno, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5595, category Article
R.A. Fleming. (1996). A mechanistic perspective of possible influences of climate change on defoliating insects in North America's boreal forests. Silva Fennica vol. 30 no. 2–3 article id 5595. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9240

There is no doubt that tree survival, growth, and reproduction in North America's boreal forests would be directly influenced by the projected changes in climate if they occur. The indirect effects of climate change may be of even greater importance, however, because of their potential for altering the intensity, frequency, and perhaps even the very nature of the disturbance regimes which drive boreal forest dynamics. Insect defoliator populations are one of the dominating disturbance factors in North America's boreal forests and during outbreaks trees are often killed over vast forest areas. If the predicted shifts in climate occur, the damage patterns caused by insects may be considerably changed, particularly those of insects whose temporal and spatial distributions are singularly dependent on climatic factors. The ensuing uncertainties directly affect depletion forecasts, pest hazard rating procedures, and long-term planning for pest control requirements. Because the potential for wildfire often increases in stands after insect attack, uncertainties in future insect damage patterns also lead to uncertainties in fire regimes. In addition, because the rates of processes key to biogeochemical and nutrient recycling are influenced by insect damage, potential changes in damage patterns can indirectly affect ecosystem resilience and the sustainability of the multiple uses of the forest resource.

In this paper, a mechanistic perspective is developed based on available information describing how defoliating forest insects might respond to climate warming. Because of its prevalence and long history of study, the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana Clem. (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is used for illustrative purposes in developing this perspective. The scenarios that follow outline the potential importance of threshold behaviour, historical conditions, phenological relationships, infrequent but extreme weather, complex feedbacks, and natural selection. The urgency of such considerations is emphasized by reference to research suggesting that climate warming may already be influencing some insect lifecycles.

  • Fleming, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 7636, category Article
Kari Heliövaara, Rauno Väisänen. (1984). Effects of modern forestry on Northwestern European forest invertebrates: a synthesis. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 189 article id 7636. https://doi.org/10.14214/aff.7636

The effects of modern forestry on northwest European forest invertebrates are summarized and analysed mainly on the basis of published literature. The direct influence of different practices including clear-cutting, thinning, burning-over, ploughing, changes in tree species composition of stands, fertilization, insecticides, pheromones and biological control are discussed from a forest zoological point of view. Also, the indirect effects of general changes in boreal forest dynamics, loss of primeval forests, cessation of natural fires and the dominance of young stands are described. The direct effects of different silvicultural practices on the species composition and diversity of forest invertebrates are usually considered to be striking but transient. However, when large areas are treated, the species associated with primeval forests, especially with the wood composition system in them, as well as the species associated with fires, seem to have drastically declined. In northwest Europe, efficient forestry has not caused such serious pest problems as is known from tropical countries or North America.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Heliövaara, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Väisänen, ORCID ID:E-mail:

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