Emergence and initial development of tree seedlings on burnt-over forest land
Prescribed burning has been used in regeneration areas in Finland as a method to treat the humus layer and creating more favourable chemical, physical and biological conditions for the seedlings. At the same time, fire clears away seedlings and shoots of unwanted trees and other vegetation. Direct sowing or planting, mostly Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), seldom natural regeneration, is used. In this paper, the initial stages of the formation of a new tree generation of Scots pine and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) on prescribed burned areas is studied in Central Finland in 1956–1960.
The burned area remains almost without vegetation for about two growing seasons. Conditions on a burned area which has not been tiled are very unfavourable for germination of seeds of coniferous and deciduous trees. On the other hand, shoots of deciduous trees occur soon after burning. Conditions for regeneration were found to be better 3–5 years after burning. Removal of humus layer in spots improved regeneration. However, the patches facilitated also natural regeneration of Norway spruce and especially birch (Betula sp.), which compete with Scots pine seedlings.
Continuous rainy periods improved the germination of Scots pine and Norway spruce seeds sown on the humus layer. Pine and spruce developed more rapidly on the exposed soil, however, young seedlings were easily destroyed. Seed eaters destroyed the pine and spruce seeds sown on the humus layer of newly burned areas completely or almost completely. The viability of pine seeds sown on the burned humus layer did not decrease for three weeks, but the viability greatly weakened after six or more weeks. Spruce seeds lost their viability faster than pine seeds.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Published in 1961