Afforestation of low-productive peatlands in Sweden – a tree species comparison
In 1970, five low-productive treeless peatlands in Sweden, ranging from latitudes 56°N to 67°N, were drained and fertilized for afforestation. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of four ditch spacings, varying from 7.5 to 60 m, and five NPK-fertilizer combinations, on the survival and growth of planted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), Norway spruce (Picea abies), and silver birch (Betula pendula) seedlings. The assessments were carried out 18–22 years after planting. Neither silver birch, nor Norway spruce was regarded suitable for the site type. The mortality of silver birch was almost complete, and Norway spruce did not grow well in any of the study areas, however, better than Scots pine in the north. Lodgepole pine had better height and diameter growth but also higher mortality rates than Scots pine. In the two northernmost experimental areas no response to fertilization was found. In the other three areas, the response to fertilization did not differ between species. Phosphorus was the most effective of the added fertilizer elements, whereas nitrogen showed no positive effect. Broadcast fertilizer application, with three times higher amount of fertilizer per ha gave the same growth response as spot application.
Received 23 February 1998 Accepted 21 August 1998 Published 31 December 1998