Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
Fire is a common disturbance in boreal forests causing changes in biological diversity at various spatial scales. In the past 100 years, forest management has limited fire outbreaks, but in the future, the fire-affected forest area is expected to increase in many regions due to climate change. Burned forests are typically salvage-logged, but the effect of this type of management versus natural regeneration on biological diversity is not well understood, particularly the mid-term effect to tree establishment and understory vegetation composition and diversity. Various management methods were used after a large fire in 1992 in a peatland-forest complex and neighbouring managed forests, which created an experimental setup for study of the effect of management after fire in the Sliteres National park, northwestern Latvia. Understory vegetation was described in plots using a design of four forest and three management types: natural regeneration (unmanaged) and managed sites with salvage logging followed by no further human intervention and salvage logging with planting. Post-fire management had different effect in each forest type. Species richness was higher in forest types with salvage logging than in natural regenerated sites on rich wet and rich dry forest types, but not for the poor forest types. Tree regeneration was generally greater in salvage-logged stands, but differed between forest types. Species composition was related to tree regeneration and canopy openness. In contrast to other studies, salvage logging had a positive mid-term effect to ground vegetation diversity and tree establishment in the studied stands, implying potential for concomitant management and conservation of ground cover vegetation in semi-natural stands.
In northern Europe, largest part of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) are gathered for recreational purposes and household consumption, but considerable amount of forest berries and mushrooms are sold as well. Retail market, largely invisible for the official statistics, reveals the lifestyle-related aspects of NWFP trade and may help to understand the flows of this ecosystem service when information on wholesale trade is inaccessible. The prices and flows of most common NWFPs – edible berries, mushrooms and tree sap – in the retail market in Latvia in 2017 and 2018 were analysed based on direct interviews with the sellers in marketplaces and telephone interviews with online retailers. The mean retail prices of NWFPs were compared between statistical regions and years and correlated with socio-economic data and forest characteristics. The directions of the NWFP flows were analysed according to the place of origin and place of retail sales. The highest prices were recorded for stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus Pers.) and Boletes spp. among mushrooms, for wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca L.) among berries and for maple (Acer platanoides L.) sap in the product group of tree sap. The retail price of the same products differed between years, most likely due to the product availability, largely caused by meteorological conditions. In more than half of the cases of recorded sales, NWFPs were consumed in the same region as they were gathered. For other cases of sales, the capital, Rīga, was the main service benefitting area of NWFP retail trade, and the largest part of the products originated from the two closest statistical regions.
Considering the increasing use of wood biomass for energy and the related intensification of forest management, the impacts of different intensities of biomass harvesting on nutrient leaching risks must be better understood. Different nitrogen forms in the soil solution were monitored for 3 to 6 years after harvesting in hemiboreal forests in Latvia to evaluate the impacts of different biomass harvesting regimes on local nitrogen leaching risks, which potentially increase eutrophication in surface waters. In forestland dominated by Scots pine Pinus sylvestris L. or Norway spruce Picea abies L. (Karst.), the soil solution was sampled in: (i) stem-only harvesting (SOH), (ii) whole‐tree harvesting, with only slash removed (WTH), and (iii) whole‐tree harvesting, with both slash and stumps harvested (WTH + SB), subplots. In agricultural land, sampling was performed in an initially fertilised hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L.× P. tremuloides Michx.) short-rotation coppice (SRC), where above-ground biomass was harvested. In forestland, soil solution N (nitrogen) concentrations were highest in the second and third year after harvesting. Mean annual values in WTH subplots of medium to high fertility sites exceeded the mean values in SOH subplots and control subplots (mature stand where no harvesting was performed) for the entire study period; the opposite trend was observed for the low-fertility site. Biomass harvesting in the hybrid aspen SRC only slightly affected NO3–-N (nitrate nitrogen) and NH4+-N (ammonium nitrogen) concentrations in the soil solution within 3 years after harvesting, but a significant decrease in the TN (total nitrogen) concentration in the soil solution was found in plots with additional N fertilisation performed once initially.