Current issue: 54(3)
The aim of this study was to develop individual-tree diameter and height growth models for Scots pine, Norway spruce, and pubescent birch growing in drained peatlands in Finland. Trees growing in peatland sites have growth patterns that deviate from that of trees growing in mineral soil sites. Five-year growth was explained by tree diameter, different tree and stand level competition measures, management operations and site characteristics. The drainage status of the site was influencing growth directly or in interaction with other variables. Site quality had a direct impact but was also commonly related to current site drainage status (need for ditch maintenance). Recent thinning increased growth of all species and former PK fertilization increased growth of pine and birch. Temperature sum was a significant predictor in all models and altitude for spruce and birch. The data were a subsample of the 7th National Forest Inventory (NFI) sample plots representing northern and southern Finland and followed by repeated measurements for 15–20 yrs. Growth levels predicted by the models were calibrated using NFI11 data to remove bias originating from the sample of the modelling data. The mixed linear models technique was used in model estimation. The models will be incorporated into the MOTTI stand simulator to replace the current peatlands growth models.
Phenology can have a profound effect on growth and climatic adaptability of long-lived, northern tree species such as Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), where the onset of growth in the spring is triggered mainly by accumulated heat, while cessation of growth is related to the joint effect of photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the objectives were: (1) to compare shoot phenology of genetic material from Scandinavia (maritime climate origin) and northern Russia (continental climate origin) sources, under field conditions in both Scandinavia and Russia (maritime and continental growth conditions); and (2) to estimate the heritabilities of phenological parameters. The material used was part of a larger provenance test series involving Scots pine populations and open-pollinated plus-tree families from Russia, Sweden and Finland. Terminal shoot elongation was measured on multiple occasions during the seventh growing season from seed at a trial near Bäcksjön (Sweden) and Syktyvkar (northern Russia). We calculated the regression of relative shoot elongation over accumulated heat sum above +5 °C using an exponential expression. Seedlings of Swedish and Russian provenance had similar heat-sum requirements for growth onset and cessation in both trials. More northern provenances started onset and cessation at a lower temperature sum, but heat accumulation requirements for onset were not fixed. Scots pine may suffer from spring frost due to earlier growth onset in a warming climate. Variation and heritability of phenological traits show potential to adapt Scots pine to new climate conditions by breeding.
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) is a deciduous tree species suitable for producing large amounts of renewable biomass during short rotations. Its potential under North European conditions could be largely extended if not only agricultural land but also forest land was used for cultivation. Unfortunately, the knowledge of appropriate forest site conditions and effects of site preparation methods on hybrid aspen establishment is limited. In this paper, two studies that explore these questions are presented. In the first study, the sensitivity to acid soils was tested under greenhouse conditions in two type of soils: a) peat soil limed to certain pH levels (3.4–5.7) and b) collected forest soils where pH varied from 3.9 to 5.3. The lowest pH level resulted in reduced growth, elsewhere no significant differences were found. The second study was applied in the field and investigated the effect of four site preparation methods on survival and growth. The methods were: 1) control with no site preparation, 2) patch scarification, 3) mounding and 4) soil inversion. While no differences were found for survival, mounding was generally the method with the highest growth and patch scarification was least successful. The result was probably an effect of good soil aeration and less competition from vegetation after mounding. The field study also revealed clonal differences in growth performance, which stresses the importance of clone selection prior to planting. The results of these studies indicate that hybrid aspen is less sensitive to variation in pH and site preparation methods compared with other poplar species, as have been found in similar studies.
Yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium Bunge) has been widely planted for biodiesel production in China, but has frequently shown poor field performance. Container-grown yellowhorn seedlings originating from three Chinese provenances, Wengniute Qi (WQ), Alukeerqin Qi (AQ), and Shanxian (SX), were fertilized with slow-release fertilizer (SRF) at 40, 80, 120, 160 or 200 mg N seedling–1. Tree growth, survival and nutrient content were measured after one year’s growth in a greenhouse followed by two years in a field site. Plants from AQ and SX tended to have higher stem and root P contents in the nursery. Higher rates of SRF increased root N, and stem and root P contents. After one year in the nursery, there were a number of interactions between provenance and SRF for plant growth responses and nutrient content in the nursery, however after two years of additional growth in the field, plants from the different provenances generally responded similarly to applied SRF in the nursery, with few interactions. Final plant height was approximately 10% lower in trees from provenance SX but was not affected by application of SRF. Conversely, final trunk diameter and stem and root biomass were unaffected by provenance but increased with higher rates of applied SRF. Our results indicate that application of SRF may be a useful tool to nutrient load yellowhorn in the nursery and facilitate transplanting performance in the field. Overall, optimal nursery and field performance of yellowhorn were observed in provenance AQ at 120–200 mg N seedling–1 SRF. We suggest that growers consider a wider range of yellowhorn provenances and SRF rates (above 200 mg N seedling–1) to yield even better growth response.
Herb-rich forests are often considered biodiversity hotspots in the boreal zone but their fungal assemblages, particularly those of wood-decaying fungi, remain poorly known. We studied herb-rich forests as habitats for polypores, a distinct group of wood-decaying fungi, and assessed the importance of tree- and stand-scale variables for polypore species richness, abundance, and diversity, including red-listed species. The data include 71 herb-rich forest stands in Finland and 4797 dead wood items, on which we made 2832 observations of 101 polypore species. Dead-wood diversity was the most important variable explaining polypore species richness and diversity, whereas increasing latitude had a negative effect. Red-listed species showed a positive response to the abundance of large-diameter dead wood, which, especially birch, supported also high general abundance of polypores. The composition of polypore assemblages reflected their host-tree species. The red-listed species did not show explicit patterns in the ordination space. Compared to old-growth spruce forests, herb-rich forests seem to host lower polypore species richness and less red-listed species. However, because of high proportion of deciduous trees in the dead wood profile, herb-rich forests have a clear complementary effect on polypore assemblages in boreal forest landscapes.
Riparian trees, especially relict trees, are attractive and important for research to understand both past and recent biogeographical and evolutionary processes. Our work is the first study to elucidate the genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure of the canopy-dominating riparian Pterocarya fraxinifolia (Juglandaceae) along two altitudinal gradients in different river systems of the Hyrcanian forest, which is one of the most important refugium of relict trees in Western Eurasia. Altitudinal gradients were chosen along two river systems at 100, 400 and 900 m a.s.l. Leaf samples were collected from 116 trees, and the genetic diversity was evaluated with eight SSR markers. Overall, 39 alleles were identified for all of the populations studied. The observed heterozygosity (Ho) varied from 0.79 to 0.87 (with a mean of 0.83). The results of the AMOVA analysis indicated that the variation within populations was 88%, whereas the variation among populations was 12% for all of the gradients. A structure analysis indicated that 93% of the trees were grouped in the same gradient. The genetic distance based on Fst confirmed the structure result and indicated a high rate of gene flow among the investigated populations. Based on high gene flow (low differentiation of the population along the same river) and the clearly distinct genetic structure of the investigated gradients, it can be concluded that rivers are the main seed dispersal vector among P. fraxinifolia populations. The genetic diversity of P. fraxinifolia did not show any trend from upstream to downstream. The high level of gene flow and uniform genetic diversity along each river suggest the “classical” metapopulation structure of the species.
The paper deals with production of above-ground biomass of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) stands in the Czech Republic. One-year biomass dynamics was studied within chronosequence of birch stands at the age of 4–5, 8–9, 17–18 and 22–23 years. With the exception of the youngest stand, which was established by seeding, all experimental birch stands were regenerated naturally after the allochthonous spruce stands. Above-ground biomass (AB) was calculated from plot inventory data and biomass equations were parameterized from destructive sampling of biomass component of sampled trees. Results reveal that the peak of the mean annual increment (MAIABtotal) of birch stands can be expected at the age from 15 to 20 years. Additionally, the stand age, the value of basal area (BA) should be considered as a predictor of stand productivity. If the value of BA varied from 25 to 35 m2 ha–1, the MAI of the birch stands reached the range from 5.0 to 6.5 t of dry biomass per ha y–1 at the age ranging between 15 and 25 years. The stem/branch proportion increased with stand age, the stem relative proportion ranging from 75 to 90% of total above-ground biomass. According to the results of this study, birch stand biomass production and utilization is one of the approaches in terms of forest recovery management in large disturbed areas. Although, no silvicultural treatments were occurred in all analysed stands, the pre-commercial thinning method could increase stand productivity and stability as well.
According to the Swedish Timber Measurement Act, measurements affecting payments for wood fuels to landowners must be accurate and precise. In this regard, moisture content is an important quality parameter for wood chips which influences the net calorific value as received and thus the economic value. As standard practice moisture content is determined with the oven-drying method, which is cumbersome to use for deliveries to facilities without drying-ovens, which in turn necessitates that samples are taken elsewhere for measurement. An alternative solution is to use a portable moisture meter. Our aim was to evaluate the precision of a handheld capacitance moisture meter. Accuracy and precision of a capacitance meter was determined in the lab and a calibration function was made. Thereafter, the calibrated moisture meter was compared with the standard method for moisture content determination of truckloads of chips. The capacitance meter showed a moderate accuracy by underestimating moisture content by 6.0 percentage points (pp), compared to the reference method, at a precision of ±3.8 pp (CI 95%). For chips with M > 50%, both accuracy and precision decreased. Calibration increased the accuracy in the follow up study by 3 pp for chips with M < 50% but could not be made for wetter chips. The oven-drying method and the capacitance meter can provide equally accurate estimates of mean moisture content for chips with M < 50% if a larger sample is taken with the latter. It should be possible to use capacitance meters to measure moisture content even when used to calculate payments depending of the needed accuracy. A calibration function for each assortment is needed.
The main aim of the current study was to estimate the annual net nitrogen mineralization (NNM) flux in stands of different tree species growing on drained peatlands, as well as to clarify the effect of tree species, soil properties and litter on annual NNM dynamics. Three study sites were set up in May 2014: a downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stand and a Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stand in Oxalis full-drained swamp (ODS) and a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand in Myrtillus full-drained swamp (MDS). The NNM flux was estimated using the in situ method with incubated polyethylene bags. The highest value of NNM was found in stands that were growing on fertile ODS: 127.5 kg N ha–1 yr–1 and 87.7 kg N ha–1 yr–1, in the downy birch stand and in the Norway spruce stand, respectively. A significantly lower annual NNM flux (11.8 kg N ha–1 yr–1) occurred in the Scots pine stand growing in MDS. Nitrification was highest at fertile ODS sites and ammonification was the highest at the low fertility MDS site. For all study sites, positive correlation was found between soil temperature and NNM intensity. The difference in annual NNM between the downy birch stand and the Norway spruce stand growing on similar drained fertile peatlands was due to litter quality. The annual N input into the soil through leaf litter was the highest at the downy birch site where also the C/N ratio of litter was the lowest. The second highest N input into the soil was found in the spruce stand and the lowest in the pine stand.
Geographic variations in growth, stress-wave velocity of stem, dynamic Young’s modulus of stems and logs, annual ring width, latewood percentage and basic density were investigated for Larix sibirica (Münchh.) Ledeb. naturally grown in Mongolia. A total of 250 trees with 20 to 30 cm in stem diameter at a height of 1.3 m above ground level were selected from each natural stand in five different provenances in Mongolia. In addition, five trees in each stand were cut for measuring dynamic Young’s modulus of stems and logs, annual ring width, latewood percentage and basic density. Mean values of stress-wave velocity of stems in each stand ranged from 2.92 to 3.41 km s–1, and the mean value of five stands was 3.23 km s–1. Mean values of dynamic Young’s modulus of logs in each stand ranged from 5.17 to 9.72 GPa. A significant correlation (r = 0.798, p < 0.01) was found between stress-wave velocity of stems and dynamic Young’s modulus of logs. Among the five stands, the highest and the lowest values of average annual ring number were 193 and 44, respectively. Mean values of basic density in five trees within each stand were examined and ranged from 0.52 to 0.56 g cm–3. Significant differences among five stands were found in tree height, stress-wave velocity of stem, dynamic Young’s modulus of stems and logs, annual ring width and latewood percentage, suggesting that L. sibirica trees naturally grown in Mongolia have geographic variations in mechanical properties of wood.
The genus Betula L. is composed of several species, which are difficult to distinguish in the field on the basis of morphological traits. The aim of this study was to evaluate the taxonomic importance of using visible + near infrared (Vis + NIR) spectra of single seeds for differentiating Betula pendula Roth and Betula pubescens Ehrh. Seeds from several families (controlled crossings of known parent trees) of each species were used and Vis + NIR reflectance spectra were obtained from single seeds. Multivariate discriminant models were developed by Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structures – Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA). The OPLS-DA model fitted on Vis + NIR spectra recognized B. pubescens with 100% classification accuracy while the prediction accuracy of class membership for B. pendula was 99%. However, the discriminant models fitted on NIR spectra alone resulted in 100% classification accuracies for both species. Absorption bands accounted for distinguishing between birch species were attributed to differences in color and chemical composition, presumably polysaccharides, proteins and fatty acids, of the seeds. In conclusion, the results demonstrate the feasibility of NIR spectroscopy as taxonomic tool for classification of species that have morphological resemblance.
Detailed pre-harvest information about the volumes and properties of growing stocks is needed for increased precision in wood procurement planning for just-in-time wood deliveries by cut-to-length (CTL) harvesters. In the study, the non-parametric Most Similar Neighbour (MSN) methodology was evaluated for predicting external quality of Scots pine and Norway spruce, expressed as stem sections fulfilling the saw log dimension and quality requirements of Finnish forest industry, as they affect the recovery of timber assortments and the value of a pre-harvest stand. Effects of external tree quality were evaluated using saw log recovery and saw log reduction caused by stem defects, as well as total timber value (€) and average unit value (€ m–3) in a stand. Root mean square error (RMSE) of saw log recovery and reduction were 9.12 percentile points (pp) for Scots pine and 6.38 pp for Norway spruce stands. In the unit value considerations, the predictions compared with measurements resulted in the RMSE of 3.50 € m–3 and the bias of 0.58 € m–3 in Scots pine stands and 2.60 € m–3, and 0.35 € m–3 in Norway spruce stands, respectively. The presented MSN based approach together with the utilization of the external stem quality database included in the ARVO software could provide dimension and external quality predictions usable for pre-harvest assessment of timber stock at a stand level. This prediction methodology is usable especially in analyses where timber assortment recoveries, values and unit prices are compared when different bucking objectives are used.
In this study, the prospects for future forest management in Republic of Karelia, Russia were analyzed. Forestry has an important role in the economy of Karelia. However, productivity and profitability in the forestry sector are extremely low, forest stand structure and quality are weak, the commercial forest land of coniferous species has declined and the wood processing industry struggles with a deficit of raw materials. The situation is typical to many forest regions in Russia with extensive forest management cited as one reason for the current situation. In contrast, the Nordic countries have significant experience in intensive and sustainable forest management and the results have been to a large extent positive. The transfer of Nordic intensive forest management solutions (NIFMS) could improve forestry in Karelia. SWOT analysis, combined with the multi-criteria decision support (MCDS) method was used to identify local operational environments and to assign priorities. Major threats included unprepared regulations, poor road infrastructure, insecure investments, low forestry productivity, forest degradation, high investment costs and a negative attitude to intensive forestry. The main opportunities are high forest resource potential in Karelia, favorable authority development programs, proven Nordic expertise, wood-based energy development and availability of new technology. Results also showed that the main weaknesses that might influence the NIFMS in Karelia are slow return on investments, low market demand for energy wood, high costs associated with young forest thinnings, high demand for skilled specialists and a lack of investment in research and development.
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.
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula × P. tremuloides) is one of the fastest growing tree species in Finland. During the mid-1990s, a breeding programme was started with the aim of selecting clones that were superior in producing pulpwood. Hybrid aspen can also be grown as a short-rotation crop for bioenergy. To study clonal variation in wood and bark properties, seven clones were selected from a 12-year-old field trial located in southern Finland. From each clone, five trees were harvested and samples were taken from stem wood, stem bark and branches to determine basic density, effective heating value, moisture and ash content. Vertical within-tree variation in moisture content and basic density was also studied. The differences between clones were significant for almost all studied properties. For all studied properties there was a significant difference between wood and bark. Wood had lower ash content (0.5% vs. 3.9%), basic density (378 kg m–3 vs. 450 kg m–3) and effective heating value (18.26 MJ kg–1 vs. 19.24 MJ kg–1), but higher moisture content (55% vs. 49%) than bark. The values for branches were intermediate. These results suggest that the properties of hybrid aspen important for energy use could be improved by clonal selection. However, selecting clones based on fast growth only may be challenging since it may lead to a decrease in hybrid aspen wood density.
Operating conditions affecting the quality of spot mounding by Bracke continuously advancing mounders were investigated on 66 regeneration areas (124 ha) in eastern Finland. The quality of mounds was classified as suitable (good or acceptable after additional compression) or unsuitable for planting. Models were constructed for the number of suitable planting spots obtained per hectare (good and acceptable mounds), the probability of successful mounding (≥1600 planting spots ha–1) and the probability of creating a suitable mound as a function of terrain, site and soil characteristics, as well as slash conditions (removed, fresh or dry logging residues). The average number of mounds created was 1892 ± 290 mounds ha–1, of which 1398 ± 325 mounds ha–1 (74%) were classified as suitable for planting. The quality of spot mounding was reduced by steep terrain, a thick humus layer and fresh logging residues. Stoniness and soil texture also affected the number of planting spots created. Mounding after logging residues had dried increased the number of planting spots by 191 spots ha–1 compared with mounding in the presence of fresh residues. Removing residues did not significantly increase the number of planting spots compared with mounding amongst dry residues. A thick humus layer, very stony soil, steep slopes and valley terrain decreased the number of planting spots by 150–450 spots ha–1. The number and quality of mounds varied considerably according to the operating conditions, but with careful selection of timing and sites the quality obtained by a continuously advancing mounder can be improved.
In this study we determined the effect of transformation of a mature sessile oak forest stand into a coppiced forest, and of thinning and throughfall reduction in a coppice stand on soil water content (SWC) and soil CO2 efflux. The precipitation reduction was induced by installing parallel drainage channels in both unthinned and thinned coppice stands. The driving factor for temporal dynamics of soil CO2 efflux in all plots was soil temperature. The other factor was soil water content but only up to about 15%. Above this threshold, there was no more effect on CO2 efflux. We found no clear difference in SWC or soil CO2 efflux between the mature and coppiced stand eight years after harvesting. On the other hand, thinning of the coppice stand resulted in increase in SWC up to 22% in proportion, which we assume to be a result of increased gap fraction of the canopy. However, no effect on soil CO2 efflux was observed two years after the thinning. Installation of the drainage channels in two plots covering 30% of the ground area resulted in decrease in SWC up to a proportional 30.5% and thus contributed up to 50.7% reduction in soil CO2 efflux.
Genetic improvements in the mechanical properties of wood are important in forestry species used for lumber, such as Picea. The within-tree radial and among-family variations for the modulus of elasticity (MOE), modulus of rupture (MOR), and their related traits [i.e., microfibril angle (MFA) of the S2 layer in latewood tracheid and air-dry density (AD)] were evaluated in nine open-pollinated families of Picea glehnii (F. Schmidt) Mast. The radial variation in MOR was mainly affected by AD, whereas MOE was affected by MFA and AD. Higher F-values obtained by analysis of variance and coefficient of variation were observed for all properties at the 6th–15th annual ring, except for AD at the 6th–10th annual ring. This result suggests that the contribution of genetic effect is larger in these highly variable regions. In addition, positive correlation coefficients were obtained between wood properties at the 6th–15th annual ring and mean values of these properties. Therefore, genetic improvements for MOE, MOR, and their related traits in P. glehnii is likely to be more effective in juvenile wood, specifically at the 6th–15th annual ring from the pith.
According to the National Energy and Climate Strategy of Finland in 2016, the demand for forest chips, that is, wood chips made of forest biomass directly for energy use, could even double by 2030 compared to the present situation. A spatially explicit impact analysis of regional supply and demand balances for forest chips was carried out. The balances were calculated as the difference between technical harvesting potentials and demand. First, the technical potentials were estimated based on the national forest inventory data. Secondly, three demand scenarios were defined for 2030 and subsequently deducted from the potentials. The results suggested that there would be increasing competition for feedstock in southern and western Finland, whereas in eastern and northern Finland there would still be surplus potential. Moreover, due to the remarkable deficit of small trees in southern Finland, there might be pressure towards using more pulpwood-sized and/or imported wood in energy production. The results also showed that, in particular, large new plants consuming substantial amounts of forest chips could have a significant effect on the regional availability of forest chips. Moreover, with increasing transport distances, new logistical solutions will be needed.
Harvesting residues collected from the final cuttings of boreal forests are an important source of solid biofuel for energy production in Finland and Sweden. In the Finnish supply chain, the measurement of residues is performed by scales integrated in forwarders. The mass of residues is converted to volume by conversion factors. In this study, weather based models for defining the moisture content of residues were developed and validated. Models were also compared with the currently used fixed tables of conversion factors. The change of the moisture content of residues is complex, and an exact estimation was challenging. However, the model predicting moisture change for three hour periods was found to be the most accurate. The main improvement compared to fixed tables was the lack of a systematic error. It can be assumed that weather based models will give more reliable estimates for the moisture in varying climate conditions and the further development of models should be focused on obtaining more appropriate data from varying drying conditions in different geographical and microclimatological locations.
The objective of the study was to ascertain the effects of tree selection (thinning from below, from above and according to stem quality) and timing of first commercial thinning (early and delayed) on the growth, yield and quality of trees in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand. A long-term field experiment (25 years) was measured in 5-year periods and the further development was simulated with growth and yield models to final cuttings using alternative rotation periods of 55–85 years. The measurements included also the exact location and type of technical defects detected on all trees in the experimental plots. The measured volume increment per unit area during the study period, 25 years after the early thinning stage was the lowest in the plots thinned from below, and the highest in the plots thinned from above or in the delayed thinning plots. However, the largest volume of saw logs during the whole rotation of 80 years was yielded after early first thinning according to the quality. The largest volume of very high-quality butt logs was produced by pruning connected with early thinning from above, and a smaller volume after early thinning according to stem quality but no after thinning from below or delayed first thinning. Without pruning an early quality thinning with one intermediate thinning was the most profitable thinning treatment in the Scots pine stand regardless the rotation length or the interest rate used. By interest rates of 1% and 2%, the optimal rotations were 80–85 years and 70 years respectively. A late thinning at the age of 60 year with long rotation was profitable only for the pruned pine stands with a low interest rate.
There is a need to extend the planting season of conifer regeneration into periods where the soil remains unfrozen due to a lack of available labor and the mechanization of planting. This study investigated how the summer- (August) and autumn-, especially late autumn (mid-September to mid-October) plantings affect the field performance of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) container seedlings. This study examined the timing of root growth just after planting, shoot flush and the start of root growth the following spring, and subsequent field performance. Seedlings of both species were planted in a nursery field trial, and in a clearcut reforestation site from August to October and the following May. The root growth of planted seedlings declined in September and ceased after mid-September. In the following spring, seedlings which were planted in early-autumn started their root growth faster than late-autumn-planted seedlings in both species. There was no difference in the timing of shoot flush for various planting dates. During the initial two years after planting, the shoot growth of spring-planted seedlings was lower, compared to autumn-planted seedlings. In conclusion, it is possible to plant conifer seedlings in the boreal forest zone up to October under non-limiting field conditions.
Light is an important environmental factor for all green plants. Its intensity, spectral composition and photoperiod can affect the regulatory pathways in plants that lead to floral initiation. In this report, results are presented from three experiments in which supplemental light with metal halide lamps (250 µmol m–2 s–1, 20 hours day–1, approx. 6 weeks) was tested as a complement to other flowering stimulation treatments (elevated temperature, treatment with gibberellin A4 and A 7 (GA4/7), restricted water supply) applied to potted Picea abies (L.) Karst. in the greenhouse. Flower stimulation in a greenhouse resulted in more floral initiation compared to flower stimulation outdoors. Supplemental light treatment increased floral initiation further, and to a larger extent in female than in male flowers. It also increased the proportion of trees and genotypes that induced reproductive buds. In a practical application of the supplemental light treatment to potted Picea abies breeding material, 90.6% of the clones produced either female or male flowers, or both. A subset of the same material kept outdoors, and thus subjected to natural light and temperatures, produced no flowers despite being treated with GA4/7 and receiving a restricted water supply. In conclusion, supplemental light treatment facilitates breeding programmes, and seed production of highly improved base material from new selections for vegetative production programmes, to be more efficient.
Accurate assessment of canopy structure is crucial in studying plant-environment interactions. The advancement of functional-structural plant models (FSPM), which incorporate the 3D structure of individual plants, increases the need for a method for accurate mathematical descriptions of leaf shape. A model was developed as an improvement of an existing leaf shape algorithm to describe a large variety of leaf shapes. Modelling accuracy was evaluated using a spatial segmentation method and shape differences were assessed using principal component analysis (PCA) on the optimised parameters. Furthermore, a method is presented to calculate the mean shape of a dataset, intended for obtaining a representative shape for modelling purposes. The presented model is able to accurately capture a large range of single, entire leaf shapes. PCA illustrated the interpretability of the parameter values and allowed evaluation of shape differences. The model parameters allow straightforward digital reconstruction of leaf shapes for modelling purposes such as FSPMs.
Genetically improved Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) are extensively used in operational Swedish forestry plantations. However, relatively little is known about the stem slenderness (height-diameter ratio) of genetically improved material. Thus, in this study we investigated effects of plus-tree selection on stem slenderness of Norway spruce and Scots pine in Sweden by evaluating both the plus-tree selection and a large number of progeny trials. Species-specific models for predicting the height-diameter ratio were estimated using regression and mixed model approach. Our results show that phenotypic plus-tree selection promoted less slender Norway spruce trees and more slender Scots pine trees compared to neighboring trees. Similar results were also found for the progeny trials which indicated that genetics played a prominent role in the phenotypic appearance. Compared to the progeny of neighboring trees, Norway spruce plus-tree progenies had a 5.3% lower height-diameter ratio, while Scots pine plus-tree progenies had a 1.5% greater height-diameter ratio. The narrow sense heritability for height-diameter ratio was 0.19 for Norway spruce and 0.11 for Scots pine, indicating that it is possible to modify the height-diameter ratio by breeding. Correlation coefficients between breeding values for height-diameter ratio and diameter were negative for Scots pine (–0.71) and Norway spruce (–0.85), indicating that selection for diameter only would result in less slender stems of both species. Similar correlations were also found between breeding values for height-diameter ratio and height of Scots pine (–0.34) and Norway spruce (–0.74).
We investigated the impact of a colony of great cormorants on the vegetation of the old growth Pinus sylvestris L. forest on the Curonian Spit peninsula, Lithuania. We studied the characteristics and rates of plant cover changes under varying length and intensity of bird influence. Plant species numbers, as well as the coverage of plants with different ecological requirements, varied according to the period of bird influence, but the resulting vegetation also depended upon the stand elevation above sea level. In our study, the initial increase in plant species richness at the start of bird nesting was not obvious and was of a transient character, due to the weak invasion of non-forest species and the rapid decline of forest plants. The colony area showed obvious and rapid vegetation changes during the investigation period. According to the calculated colony expansion rates, after 6–7 years of impact from birds the tree layer decreased by about four fold; the shrub layer decreased by about two fold; the field layer decreased by about 15 fold; and the dwarf shrub and bottom layers disappeared. The coverage by oligotrophic species decreased by more than four fold, while the coverage by eutrophic species increased by more than 60 fold. After 9–10 years of ornithogenic impact, all the trees were dead, and the protected coniferous forest ecosystem, with its characteristic plant species, had ceased to exist as such.
Airborne laser scanning (ALS) has been the main method for acquiring data for forest management planning in Finland and Norway in the last decade. Recently, digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) has provided an interesting alternative, as the accuracy of stand-based estimates has been quite close to that of ALS while the costs are markedly smaller. Thus, it is important to know if the better accuracy of ALS is worth the higher costs for forest owners. In many recent studies, the value of forest inventory information in the harvest scheduling has been examined, for instance through cost-plus-loss analysis. Cost-plus-loss means that the quality of the data is accounted for in monetary terms through calculating the losses due to errors in the data in the forest management planning context. These costs are added to the inventory costs. In the current study, we compared the losses of ALS and DAP at plot level. According to the results, the data produced using DAP are as good as data produced using ALS from a decision making point of view, even though ALS is slightly more accurate. ALS is better than DAP only if the data will be used for more than 15 years before acquiring new data, and even then the difference is quite small. Thus, the increased errors in DAP do not significantly affect the results from a decision making point of view, and ALS and DAP data can be equally well recommended to the forest owners for management planning. The decision of which data to acquire, can thus be made based on the availability of the data on first hand and the costs of acquiring it on the second hand.
This study aimed at establishing calibrations to predict nutrient concentrations of solid moose (Alces alces L.) rumen content using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), as an alternative to expensive chemical analyses. NIR reflectance spectra of 148 dry pulverized samples were recorded. The scanned samples were then analyzed for crude protein, available protein, microbial nitrogen (N), ash, acid-detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and lignin contents following standard chemical analysis procedures. The calibration models were derived by Orthogonal Projection to Latent Structure (OPLS) and validated using external prediction sets. The calibration models accurately predicted crude protein, available protein and ash contents (R2 = 0.99, 0.96, and 0.92, prediction error = 0.39, 0.72 and 0.53% dry matter, respectively) while NDF (R2 = 0.92; prediction error = 2.23% dry matter) and ADF (R2 = 0.89; prediction error = 1.94% dry matter) were predicted with sufficient accuracy and that of microbial-N (R2 = 0.81; prediction error = 1.25 mg yeast-RNA g–1 dry matter) and lignin (R2 = 0.84; prediction error = 1.05% dry matter) were acceptable. The ratio of performance to deviation values were > 3.0 for crude protein and available protein, between 3.0 and 2.5 for ADF, NDF and lignin, and 2.32 for microbial-N; attesting the robustness of the calibration models. It can be concluded that NIR spectroscopy offers a quick and inexpensive procedure for prediction of nutrient concentrations of solid rumen contents in wild herbivores.
To assess the quality of results obtained from heuristics through statistical procedures, a number of independently generated solutions to the same problem are required, however the knowledge of how many solutions are necessary for this purpose using a specific heuristic is still not clear. Therefore, the overall aims of this paper are to quantitatively evaluate the effects of the number of independent solutions generated on the forest planning objectives and on the performance of different neighborhood search techniques of simulated annealing (SA) in three increasing difficult forest spatial harvest scheduling problems, namely non-spatial model, area restriction model (ARM) and unit restriction model (URM). The tested neighborhood search techniques included the standard version of SA using the conventional 1-opt moves, SA using the combined strategy that oscillates between the conventional 1-opt moves and the exchange version of 2-opt moves, and SA using the change version of 2-opt moves. The obtained results indicated that the number of independent solutions generated had clear effects on the conclusions of the performances of different neighborhood search techniques of SA, which indicated that no one particular neighborhood search technique of SA was universally acceptable. The optimal number of independent solutions generated for all alternative neighborhood search techniques of SA for ARM problems could be estimated using a negative logarithmic function based on the problem size, however the relationships were not sensitive (i.e., 0.13 < p < 0.78) to the problem size for non-spatial and URM harvest scheduling problems, which should be somewhat above 250 independent runs. The types of adjacency constraints did moderately affect the number of independent solutions necessary, but not significantly. Therefore, determining an optimal number of independent solutions generated is a necessary process prior to employing heuristics in forest management planning practices.
The resilience of closed-crown coniferous stands within the boreal forest of North America is highly dependent on successful re-establishment of tree species following fire. A shift from closed-crown forest to open lichen woodland is possible following poor natural regeneration during the initial establishment phase, followed by the development of extensive lichen cover, which may hinder ongoing recruitment. We examined the development of the crustose lichen Trapeliopsis granulosa (Hoffm.) 18 to 21 years following fire within six sites in the boreal forest of northwestern Quebec, and explored its potential to affect ongoing recruitment during early successional stages of stand development. Germination and survivorship trials were conducted within the laboratory to determine the establishment rate of Pinus banksiana Lamb. (jack pine) on T. granulosa, mineral soil, and burnt duff under two separate watering frequencies (observed and drought). Survival and establishment rates of jack pine were highest on burnt duff, and poor on both T. granulosa and mineral soil. Under the drought treatment, no seedlings survived on any substrates. In the field, T. granulosa cover had a positive relationship with mineral soil cover, and negative relationships with duff cover, ericaceous shrub cover, organic layer depth, other lichen cover, and Sphagnum moss cover. No discernable relationship was found between T. granulosa and tree density, rock cover, dead wood cover or other moss cover. The development of extensive T. granulosa cover in fire-initiated stands can impede ongoing recruitment of conifer species due to its poor seedbed quality, thereby maintaining open forests.
Industrial chipping is becoming increasingly popular, as the result of a growing demand for woody biomass. Industrial chippers are large, powerful machines that generate much noise and vibration. This study explored some factors that may affect exposure to noise and vibration, namely: feedstock type (branches vs. logs), work station characteristics (truck cab vs. separate cab) and knife wear (new knives vs. blunt knives). Exposure to noise was significantly affected by all three factors, and it was higher for branch feedstock, separate cabs and blunt knives. The higher exposure levels recorded for the separate cab were especially insidious, because they were below and above the hearing threshold and would elude immediate perception. Exposure to whole-body vibration (WBV) was significantly higher for branch feedstock and for the separate cab. Knife wear seemed to determine an increase in WBV, but this effect had no statistical significance and the result could not be taken as conclusive. Among the three factors studied, work station characteristics had the strongest effect. Further studies may extend the comparison to a wider range of options, as well as explore the use of exposure variation for machine diagnostics.
With progressing globalization of forest production, roundwood prices in different countries may follow similar trends. The Law of One Price (LOP) postulates that the price of a similar product should be the same in different markets when expressed in the same currency. The objectives of this research were (1) to test the LOP in selected coniferous sawlog markets, and (2) to analyze whether a common market – the European Union – leads to the existence of a single sawlog market. The analysis included Brazil, Chile, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia Northwest, Sweden, the US South, the US Northwest, Canada East, and Canada West. The results suggest that some of the coniferous sawlog markets were cointegrated which means that they shared a long-term relationship even if in the short-term they do not necessarily adjust to each other. The LOP may hold between coniferous sawlog markets in Sweden and Norway from 1995 through 2012 when sawlog prices were expressed in USD, and in Norway and Finland for 2001–2012 for prices in EUR. Furthermore, the LOP may hold for North American markets in the West for 2004–2012.
This review systematically analyses and classifies research and review papers focusing on discrete event simulation applied to wood transport, and therefore illustrates the development of the research area from 1997 until 2017. Discrete event simulation allows complex supply chain models to be mapped in a straightforward manner to study supply chain dynamics, test alternative strategies, communicate findings and facilitate understanding of various stakeholders. The presented analyses confirm that discrete event simulation is well-suited for analyzing interconnected wood supply chain transportation issues on an operational and tactical level. Transport is the connective link between interrelated system components of the forest products industry. Therefore, a survey on transport logistics allows to analyze the significance of entire supply chain management considerations to improve the overall performance and not only one part in isolation. Thus far, research focuses mainly on biomass, unimodal truck transport and terminal operations. Common shortcomings identified include rough explanations of simulation models and sparse details provided about the verification and validation processes. Research gaps exist concerning simulations of entire, resilient and multimodal wood supply chains as well as supply and demand risks. Further studies should expand upon the few initial attempts to combine various simulation methods with optimization.
For sawmills, paper mills, particleboard, oriented strand board (OSB), fiberboard and other wood production factories, the log yard is the first step, where raw materials are sorted and stored before production begins. Due to the size of these production sites great potential exists for the optimisation of internal logistics. In this paper the different planning problems of the log yard are introduced and existing literature examined. Beginning with the tactical problems of structure, such as assessing material flow, planning facility layout and assigning storage areas, it continues with operational problems such as vehicle movement planning within the log yard, empty trip minimisation and the seasonality of raw material availability. Data derived from this study reveals a variety of possible solution methods, the applicability of which depends on the precise nature of the log yard operations. Additionally, several real life examples are provided which illustrate the potential for operational improvement.
Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) has been extensively introduced in Scandinavia on less productive sites. Under a changing climate, it also has a high potential in the eastern Baltic region; still, its performance there has scarcely been reported. This study investigated the performance of 36 Canadian provenances in 14 trials in western Latvia. Tree dimensions showed notable provenance and provenance-by-environment variation, implying that local selection by provenance can be applied for improved yield. Southern provenances showed the best height growth, while southwestern (more oceanic) provenances excelled in diameter growth. Most of the quality traits were affected by provenance or provenance-by-environment interaction, yet the variation was lower than for the growth traits.
In managed European hemiboreal forests, windstorms have a notable ecological and socio-economic impact. In this study, stand properties affecting windstorm damage occurrence at the stand-level were assessed using a Generalized Linear Mixed model. After 2005 windstorm, 5959 stands dominated by birch (Betula spp.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), with mean height > 10 m were inventoried. Windstorm damage was positively associated with spruce and pine-dominated stands, increasing mean height, fresh forest edges, decreasing time since the last thinning and stronger wind gusts. Tree species composition – mixed or monodominant – was not statistically significant in the model; while, the admixture of spruce in the canopy layer was positively associated with higher windstorm damage. Stands on peat soils were more damaged than stands on mineral soils. Birch stands were more damaged than pine stands. This information could be used in forest management planning, selection of silvicultural treatments to increase forest resilience to natural disturbances.
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.
The aim was to investigate relative susceptibility of stumps of spruce and pine to airborne infections by Heterobasidion following pre-commercial thinnings. The proportions of infected stumps and colonized stump surface areas were analysed in 16 forest stands. In total, 746 spruce and 1063 pine stumps were sampled, and 184 and 105 infected stumps, respectively, were analysed. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that in the investigated area: i) both Heterobasidion infection frequency and the extent of surface colonization correlated positively with stump diameter of both spruce and pine; ii) spruce stumps were significantly more often subjected to primary infections than pine stumps; iii) the pathogen exhibited more extensive surface colonization of spruce stumps than of pine stumps.
Dieback of the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) has been spreading throughout Europe since the 1990s, causing severe ecological and economical consequences; however, detailed statistics on its dynamics have been published rarely. This paper presents the dynamics of mature ash-dominated stands in Latvia for the period 2005–2015. Data from the national forest inventory and a permanent sampling plot network were summarised. According to the official statistics, the dieback has caused a twofold decrease in area of the ash stands (from 21 891 to 13 011 ha, which respectively comprised ca. 0.8 to ca. 0.4% of the total forest area). The official statistics on standing volume appeared biased, as they did not account for increased mortality. According to the permanent sampling plots, standing volume and stand density have been affected even more, having decreased by 53.1 and 69.9%, respectively, compared to 2005 (the stand density and standing volume of ash in 2015 was 77 individuals ha–1 and 151 m3 ha–1, respectively). The mortality of the trees has not been stable. Stand density decreased faster during 2005–2009 compared to 2010–2015, with mortality rates of 9.6 and 8.2% year–1, respectively. In contrast, the decrease in standing volume in 2005–2009 was slower than in 2010–2015 (mortality rates were 4.7 and 7.7% year–1, respectively) because trees with smaller dimensions were more susceptible to the dieback. Nevertheless, the observed mortality rates clearly indicate negative prospects for ash stands in Latvia.
Dwarf shrub layer is an important component of boreal and hemiboreal forest ecosystems that has received little attention, particularly regarding its structural diversity, which, however, could serve as an additional proxy for habitat quality. Dimensions of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) ramets were assessed in two sites in Latvia covered by dry oligotrophic Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands 10–230 years of age. In total, 20 sampling plots (10×10 m) with 156 subplots (1×1 m) were sampled and 630 bilberry ramets analysed. The dimensions of ramets (age, diameter, and height) and cover of bilberry increased with stand age. The age of the studied ramets ranged 2–13 years; 5–6 years-old ramets were most frequent in all stands. The skewness of the distribution of the ramet dimensions shifted with stand age, leaning towards the higher values. Lower structural diversity of ramets was observed in stands 50–100 years of age. The highest diversity of ramet age structure occurred in stands younger than 150 years, whereas the oldest and largest ramets mostly occurred in the older stands (>150 years). Considering structural diversity of ramets, recovery of bilberry after stand-replacing disturbance (e.g. clearcut) was a continuous process, similarly to that observed in tree layer.
The height growth of trees influences the productivity of stands and the competitiveness of species, shaping the range of their distribution. Dominant height growth was assessed for European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), growing outside of its natural distribution range in the western part of Latvia. In 10 neighbouring experimental stands, 20 dominant trees were felled for stem analysis. Height growth was modelled using the generalised algebraic difference approach, applying several non-linear equations and mixed procedures. The Chapman-Richards and Sloboda models showed the best fit to the data. Height growth of the second generation (younger) trees exceeded that of the first generation, and followed curve for a higher site index, suggesting sufficient adaptation and improving conditions. Height growth of the studied beech exceeded predictions for beech in southern Sweden, which is considered to be the northern limit of the species range, yet the growth pattern differed. In Latvia, slower height growth was estimated for site indices < 32 m (in 100 years) during the first 60 years, yet larger maximal height was predicted, suggesting a longer establishment period. Nevertheless, the improving height growth indicated increasing potential for the application of the species in commercial forestry, and an expansion of the species within the region even during the 21th century.
Forest fire is one of the natural disturbances, which have important ecological and socioeconomical effect. Although fire activity is driven by weather conditions, during past two centuries forest fires have been strongly anthropogenically controlled. In this study, teleconnection between sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic, which influences climate in Europe, and forest fire activity in Latvia and Estonia was assessed using “Climate explorer” web-tool. Factors affecting number and area of forest fires in Latvia and Estonia differed, suggesting regional specifics. In Estonia, the number of fires correlated with the SST in the North Atlantic in spring and summer, which affects the inflow of cool and dry air masses from the Arctic, hence the aridity and burnability. The area of fires in Estonia and in Latvia was associated with increased SST in Baltic Sea and near the European coast in summer, which likely were consequences of occurrence of warm high-pressure systems in summer, causing hot and dry conditions. Nevertheless, the observed teleconnections could be used to predict activity of forest fires in Latvia and Estonia.