Current issue: 56(4)
This study examined the relationships between forest management planning units and patches formed by forest habitat components. The test area used was a part of Koli National Park in North Karelia, eastern Finland. Forest management planning units (i.e. forest compartments) were defined by using a traditional method of Finnish forestry which applies aerial photographs and compartment-wise field inventory. Patches of forest habitat components were divided according to subjective rules by using a chosen set of variables depicting the edaphic features and vegetation of a forest habitat. The spatial distribution of the habitat components was estimated with the kriging-interpolation based on systematically located sample plots. The comparisons of the two patch mosaics were made by using the standard tools of GIS. The results of the study show that forest compartment division does not correlate very strongly with the forest habitat pattern. On average, the mean patch size of the forest habitat components is greater and the number of these patches lower compared to forest compartment division. However, if the forest habitat component distribution had been considered, the number of the forest compartments would have at least doubled after intersection.
Comparisons were made between artificially and naturally regenerated stands in the south-eastern part of North Karelia, Finland, and naturally regenerated stands in the western parts of the Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation. The effect of soil fertility and silvicultural operations on the stand structure was also investigated.
The results of the study show clearly that when forests are artificially regenerated the stand structure includes less variation when compared with the stands naturally regenerated. Differences between the regeneration methods are clearer the more fertile the forest site is. Within the regeneration method there is also a clear trend in stand structure, with the variation decreasing the poorer the site. The effect of silvicultural operations, i.e. the cleaning of the sapling stand, has disappeared by the time of first thinning, although it appears to have a permanent effect on the dynamics of the tree species within a stand.
The variation of the stand structure can be regarded as an essential factor for the potential biodiversity of the stand also at its young vegetation succession stage. This capacity for maintaining the forest biodiversity, developed at the young vegetation succession stage, becomes increasingly important in subsequent vegetation succession stages. Natural regeneration provides improved possibilities for the operations preserving forest biodiversity, as it generates more dense stands with a wider variation in stand structure, compared to artificial regeneration.