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Silva Fennica 1926-1997
Acta Forestalia Fennica

Articles by Ulf Sikström

Category : Research article

article id 139, category Research article
Ulf Sikström, Curt Almqvist, Gunnar Jansson. (2010). Growth of Pinus sylvestris after the application of wood ash or P and K fertilizer to a peatland in southern Sweden. Silva Fennica vol. 44 no. 3 article id 139.
Keywords: fertilization; wood ash; nitrogen; ammonium nitrate; forest yield; needle element concentrations; potassium chloride; raw phosphate
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info
The effects of the application of wood ash and of fertilizer regimes including phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), with and without simultaneous addition of nitrogen (N), were investigated on a stand of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) saplings growing on a drained oligotrophic peatland site in southern Sweden. A randomized block design was used. Tree growth and concentrations of various elements in the needles were measured. The addition of similar doses of P (approx. 40 kg P ha–1) from different sources resulted in similar growth responses, amounting to 1.6–1.9 m3 ha–1 yr–1 of stem wood over the 26-year study. The P source was either wood ash (2500 kg d.w. ha–1) or PK-fertilizer (raw phosphate and potassium chloride). In response to several treatments there were both increased numbers of trees and increased growth of individual trees. The high PK-dose (40 kg P ha–1 and 80 kg K ha–1) appeared to result in a larger growth increase than the low dose (20 kg P ha–1 and 40 kg K ha–1). The N treatment had no additional effect on growth. In the control plots, tree growth was more or less negligible (0.04 m3 ha–1 yr–1). After almost 26 years, concentrations of P and K in the needles of treated plants were still higher than in the untreated control plants. Nevertheless, in spite of the elevated P concentration, P appears to limit the growth of Scots pine. In conclusion, after sufficient drainage of this type of peatland site, it is possible for a forest stand to develop to the pole stage if wood ash or PK-fertilizer is applied.
  • Sikström, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail: (email)
  • Almqvist, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail:
  • Jansson, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail:
article id 372, category Research article
Ulf Sikström. (2005). Pre-harvest soil acidification, liming or N fertilization did not significantly affect the survival and growth of young Norway spruce. Silva Fennica vol. 39 no. 3 article id 372.
Keywords: Picea abies; regeneration; limestone; sulphur powder; urea
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Acidification, liming, and N fertilization affect a number of soil properties. Such changes may have an impact on forest regeneration and yield. The aim of this study was to investigate the survival and growth of Picea abies (L.) Karst. planted on plots that had been acidified (in 12 annual treatments totalling 600 or 1200 kg S ha–1 in the form of elemental sulphur), limed (12 x 500 = 6000 kg lime ha–1 in the form of CaCO3) or N-fertilized (3 x 200 = 600 kg N ha–1 in the form of urea) prior to harvest. Trees growing on plots treated with a combination of the N plus the lower S application were also tested. None of the treatments, applied in three replicate stands, significantly influenced either survival or growth of Picea abies trees during the first 11 growing seasons after planting.
  • Sikström, SkogForsk, Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail: (email)
article id 604, category Research article
Dan Glöde, Ulf Sikström. (2001). Two felling methods in final cutting of shelterwood, single-grip harvester productivity and damage to the regeneration. Silva Fennica vol. 35 no. 1 article id 604.
Keywords: silviculture; time study; cost; forest operations; felling technique; logging-damage
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In order to find an efficient and careful way of final-cutting shelterwoods, two felling methods, in a single-grip harvester system, were compared with respect to productivity and damage caused to the regeneration. The shelterwood (140–165 m3/ha) consisted of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and the natural regeneration (9530–11 780 seedlings/ha) mostly of Norway spruce. Treatments were: (i) conventional felling on both sides of the harvester striproad, preferably in blanks of the regeneration; (ii) felling of the trees top-end first into the striproad using a method named “tossing the caber”. Both treatments included forwarding after felling. Conventional felling had a non-significantly higher productivity (27.4 m3/E15–h) and lower cost (25.9 SEK/m3) than tossing the caber (26.1 m3/E15–h and 27.2 SEK/m3). However, tossing the caber was significantly more efficient in the felling and processing of pine trees compared with conventional felling. The mean proportions of the disappeared and damaged seedlings were approximately 40% after both treatments. The logging-related damage to the regeneration decreased with increased distance to the striproad in the tossing the caber treatment but not in conventional felling. The conclusions were that there were no differences between the treatments regarding productivity, cost and total damage to the regeneration in mixed conifer shelterwoods but that tossing the caber could be a more productive method than conventional felling in pine dominated stands. Tossing the caber could also be beneficial at a regeneration height of 2–3 m since at this height the damage to the regeneration seems less than at conventional felling.
  • Glöde, SkogForsk, Uppsala Science Park, S-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail: (email)
  • Sikström, SkogForsk, Uppsala Science Park, S-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail:

Category : Review article

article id 23056, category Review article
Eva Ring, Ulf Sikström. (2024). Environmental impact of mechanical site preparation on mineral soils in Sweden and Finland — a review. Silva Fennica vol. 58 no. 1 article id 23056.
Keywords: carbon; nitrogen; soil disturbance; vegetation; water; chemistry; greenhouse gas
Highlights: Mechanical site preparation is carried out on large areas, but limited research on its environmental impact has been undertaken; It affects nitrogen and carbon cycling over the first few years, and has a minor initial impact on CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes; It increases tree carbon stores and possibly ecosystem carbon stores; Reducing its soil disturbance intensity is warranted.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

Mechanical site preparation (MSP) is deliberate soil disturbance which is undertaken to improve the conditions for forest regeneration. Disc trenching and mounding are the dominant MSP practices currently used in Sweden and Finland. In this paper, the impacts of MSP on the soil, water quality, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ground vegetation of mineral soil sites in Sweden and Finland are reviewed. The practices considered are patch scarification, mounding, inverting, disc trenching, and ploughing, which together represent a wide range of soil disturbance intensity. The environmental effects of MSP in this region have not been studied extensively. The environmental impact of MSP derives from the process of creating microsites which involves horizontal and/or vertical redistribution of soil and soil mixing. This typically affects decomposition, element circulation and leaching, vegetation coverage and uptake of nutrients and water, and possibly erosion and sediment exports. Following disc trenching or mounding the effects on GHG emissions appear to be minor over the first two years. For a few years after disc trenching concentrations in soil water collected below ridges are higher than that below furrows for some elements (e.g., NO3-, NH4+, Mg2+, and total or dissolved organic C). The physical and chemical effects of ploughing remain detectable for several decades. There is little evidence about how the effects of forestry activities in upland areas on soil-water chemistry are transferred to adjacent surface water bodies, including what role streamside discharge areas play. MSP increases the tree biomass C store and may increase the total ecosystem C store. The impact of MSP on the cover and abundance of ground vegetation species depends on the composition of the original plant community, MSP intensity, and the establishment rate of different species. Species cover generally seems to decline for late succession understory species, while pioneer and ruderal species can benefit from the microsites created. Areas containing lichens which are used for reindeer forage require special consideration. More research is needed on the environmental effects of MSP, particularly regarding its long-term effects. Further efforts should be made to develop efficient site-preparation practices which better balance the disturbance intensity with what is needed for successful regeneration.

  • Ring, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, 751 83, Uppsala, Sweden ORCID E-mail: (email)
  • Sikström, Skogforsk (The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden), Uppsala Science Park, 751 83, Uppsala, Sweden E-mail:
article id 10172, category Review article
Ulf Sikström, Karin Hjelm, Kjersti Holt Hanssen, Timo Saksa, Kristina Wallertz. (2020). Influence of mechanical site preparation on regeneration success of planted conifers in clearcuts in Fennoscandia – a review. Silva Fennica vol. 54 no. 2 article id 10172.
Keywords: natural regeneration; regeneration chain; seedling growth; coniferous seedlings; disturbed soil surface; seedling survival
Highlights: Mechanical site preparation (MSP) increases seedling survival rates by 15–20%; Survival rates of 80–90% ca. 10 years after MSP and planting conifers are possible; MSP can increase tree height 10–15 years after planting by 10–25%; The increase in growth rate associated with MSP may be temporary, but the height enhancement probably persists.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

In the Nordic countries Finland, Norway and Sweden, the most common regeneration method is planting after clearcutting and, often, mechanical site preparation (MSP). The main focus of this study is to review quantitative effects that have been reported for the five main MSP methods in terms of survival and growth of manually planted coniferous seedlings of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) in clearcuts in these three countries. Meta analyses are used to compare the effects of MSP methods to control areas where there was no MSP and identify any relationships with temperature sum and number of years after planting. In addition, the area of disturbed soil surface and the emergence of naturally regenerated seedlings are evaluated. The MSP methods considered are patch scarification, disc trenching, mounding, soil inversion and ploughing. Studies performed at sites with predominately mineral soils (with an organic topsoil no thicker than 0.30 m), in boreal, nemo-boreal and nemoral vegetation zones in the three Fenno-Scandinavian countries are included in the review. Data from 26 experimental and five survey studies in total were compiled and evaluated. The results show that survival rates of planted conifers at sites where seedlings are not strongly affected by pine weevil (Hylobius abietis L.) are generally 80–90% after MSP, and 15–20 percent units higher than after planting in non-prepared sites. The experimental data indicated that soil inversion and potentially ploughing (few studies) give marginally greater rates than the other methods in this respect. The effects of MSP on survival seem to be independent of the temperature sum. Below 800 degree days, however, the reported survival rates are more variable. MSP generally results in trees 10–25% taller 10–15 years after planting compared to no MSP. The strength of the growth effect appears to be inversely related to the temperature sum. The compiled data may assist in the design, evaluation and comparison of possible regeneration chains, i.e. analyses of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of multiple combinations of reforestation measures.

  • Sikström, Skogforsk, Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail:
  • Hjelm, Skogforsk, Ekebo 2250, SE-268 90 Svalöv, Sweden E-mail: (email)
  • Holt Hanssen, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), P.O. Box 115, NO-1431 Ås, Norway E-mail:
  • Saksa, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Juntintie 154, FI-77600 Suonenjoki, Finland E-mail:
  • Wallertz, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Asa Forest Research Station, SE-360 30 Lammhult, Sweden E-mail:
article id 1416, category Review article
Ulf Sikström, Hannu Hökkä. (2015). Interactions between soil water conditions and forest stands in boreal forests with implications for ditch network maintenance. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 1 article id 1416.
Keywords: peatland; forest drainage; conifers; tree growth; drainage intensity; ditch deterioration; forest water use; ground-water table; profitability
Highlights: Ditch network maintenance (DNM) may influence soil water conditions less than initial ditching due to reduced hydraulic conductivity of the peat; Stand stocking and management substantially influence soil-water conditions; DNM can lower the GWL and increase tree growth; DNM growth responses of 0.5–1.8 m3 ha–1 yr–1 during 15–20-years in Scots pine peatland stands reported; Greatest need for DNM in the early phase of a stand rotation; Need for better understanding of the link between soil water and tree growth.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

At sites with either peat or mineral soils in large areas of boreal forests, high soil-water contents hamper tree growth and drainage can significantly increase growth. Hence, areas covering about 15 × 106 ha of northern peatlands and wet mineral soils have been drained for forestry purposes. Usually ditches gradually deteriorate, thus reducing their functionality as drains, and ditch-network maintenance (DNM) might be needed to maintain stand growth rates enabled by the original ditching. This article reviews current knowledge on establishing the need for DNM in boreal forest stands, subsequent growth responses, and the financial outcome of the activity. The issues covered in the review are: (i) ditching, changes in ditches over time and the need for DNM; (ii) interactions between soil water and both stand properties and stand management; (iii) ground-water level (GWL) and tree growth responses to DNM; and (iv) financial viability of DNM. Conclusions about the current understanding of issues related to DNM are drawn and implications for DNM in practice are summarized. Finally, gaps in knowledge are identified and research needs are suggested.

  • Sikström, The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk), Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden E-mail: (email)
  • Hökkä, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Management and Production of Renewable Resources, P.O. Box 16, FI-96301 Rovaniemi, Finland E-mail:

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