Tree regeneration in artificial canopy gaps established for restoring natural structural variability in a Scots pine stand
Rouvinen S., Kouki J. (2011). Tree regeneration in artificial canopy gaps established for restoring natural structural variability in a Scots pine stand. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 88. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.88
In Finland and elsewhere in Europe, many protected forest areas include also stands that were previously managed and that lack several naturally occurring stand characteristics. In these areas, ecosystem restoration can be used to facilitate and accelerate the formation of structural and habitat features resembling those of natural forests. For example, by creating small gaps it could be possible to diversify forest structure and tree species composition and to produce dead wood while still maintaining mostly continous canopy coverage. We examined experimentally the effects of artificial gap formation on post-disturbance tree regeneration in the gaps in a young protected, but formerly commercially managed pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated forest. In the experimental sites, gap size and the portion of girdled trees out of all treated trees (girdled and felled trees combined) in the gaps varied. Natural and artificial (direct seeding of silver birch Betula pendula Roth) tree regeneration and development was monitored both on disturbed (scarified soil patches) and undisturbed forest floor during three growing seasons. Results show that gaps can be valuable in diversifying stand structure but to be successful and rapid, tree regeneration needs disturbed forest floor. Pine regenerated numerously, but birch had clearly lower regeneration, especially on small-sized gaps. In conclusion, increasing tree diversity in young pine-dominated forests seems to be difficult when only small artificial gaps are used. But even small gaps can be used to create and maintain diverse cohort structure of the dominant species and thus they can contribute to restoration goals.
Received 25 November 2010 Accepted 1 November 2011 Published 31 December 2011