Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
Bark beetles are amongst the most aggressive pest agents of coniferous forests. Due to this, many boreal countries have designated laws aiming to lower the risk of bark beetle epidemics. Finland’s forest legislation has pre-emptive measures targeted against bark beetles, and for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), the law concerns pine shoot beetles (Tomicus spp.). This study used data collected around 25 piles of Scots pine roundwood that were harvested in the winter but left in the forest until the following November. Thus, the pine shoot beetles were able to use the piles for breeding. We assessed the number of emerged insects from the piles and the cascading damage they caused in the surrounding forests. All roundwood piles, regardless of their volume, were used by the beetles for breeding. Highest densities of beetle exit holes were found from the parts of the log with thick and intact bark. If the bark of the log was damaged by the harvester head, the number of beetles decreased significantly. Depending on the volume of the roundwood pile, the cascading damage (fallen shoots) was noticeable up to ca. 40–60 m from the roundwood pile. Storing of piles smaller than 50 m3 did not cause excess damage. The number of fallen shoots per tree was generally below the known thresholds for when growth losses can occur. However, the study was conducted in mature forests, and it can be assumed that the recorded damage levels would severely affect the growth of young pines, raising the question of where to store the roundwood. As with other bark beetles, the role of Tomicus beetles as damage agents may change in the future, but based on this as well as past studies, the species can be viewed as a notable damage agents only around long-term wood storage sites in the current northern conditions.
The literature on the most prominent forest damage related to even-aged and uneven-aged forest management regimes was reviewed. A questionnaire to expert researchers was conducted to estimate risks in even-aged and uneven-aged forest management chains in Finland. There are only a few empirical comparisons of damage risks in even- and uneven-aged stands in the literature. The results from the expert survey showed that the damage risks were higher in even-aged management in Norway spruce and Scots pine. However, the variation in the risks between individual chains and between individual causes was high. The highest risks in Scots pine were caused by moose (in even-aged chains) and harvesting damage (in uneven-aged chains). In Norway spruce, root rot caused the highest risks in both even-aged and uneven-aged chains. The higher risks in even-aged forestry are largely due to the many associated practices which favour various types of damage. However, there are some important exceptions: the damage risks may be higher in some uneven-aged stands, especially in Norway spruce stands infected with root rot where the utilization of undergrowth or natural regeneration can be risky. Moreover, the repeated thinnings in uneven-aged stands may lead to increased mechanical damage.
There is evidence that moose are attracted to fertile growth habitats apparently due to better quality and larger quantities of food. The nutrients in mineral soils originate from the weathering of bedrock and the composition of parental bedrock affects the fertility of produced mineral soil, thus affecting also the import of nutrients into the whole food web. We surveyed the connection between moose damage in forest plantations and the composition of bedrock and surficial deposits in Finnish Lapland. We used a database of compensated moose damage in private forests in years 1997−2010. Undamaged stands in National Forest Inventories (NFI) from years 1986–2008 served as a control data and moose-damaged NFI-stands as a reference data. Bedrock and surficial depositions and the location of studied stands in relation to ancient shorelines were explored by using the digital databases of the Geological Survey of Finland. Moose-damaged stands were concentrated in southwestern and east Lapland in the areas of the Peräpohja Schist Belt and Lapland’s Greenstone Belt that are both composed of nutrient-rich rocks. The bedrock of damaged stands contained a higher proportion of mafic and alkaline rocks than did the control stands. Moose-damaged stands were pine-dominated and grew in more fertile forest sites than did control stands. Part of pine stands probably located in soils formerly occupied by spruce, which may increase the stands’ vulnerability to biotic threats. Especially, there were relatively more moose damage in pine plantations regenerated on fine-grained mineral soils derived from nutrient rich rocks than in less fertile soils.
The occurrence of moose damage was studied using data from three National Forest Inventories (NFIs) accomplished between 1986 and 2008 in Finland. The combined data included a total of 97 390 young stands. The proportion of moose damage increased from 3.6% to 8.6% between the 8th NFI (1986–1994) and the 10th NFI (2004–2008). The majority (75%) of the damage occurred in Scots pine-dominated stands. The proportion of damage was higher in aspen-dominated stands than in stands dominated by any other tree species. The tree species mixture also had a clear effect on the occurrence of damage. Pure Scots pine stands had less damage than mixed Scots pine stands, and moose damage decreased linearly with the increasing proportion of Scots pine. Stands on mineral soil had more frequent moose damage than stands on peatlands. The fertility class of the site had no straightforward effect on the damage frequency. Artificially regenerated stands had more damage than naturally regenerated stands. Accomplished soil preparation measures and the need for thinning or clearing operations increased moose damage. High proportions of moose damage in young stands were found around the country. In the 10th NFI, the largest concentration of damage was found in southwestern Finland. Our study shows the temporal and spatial changes in the occurrence of moose damage and pinpoints some important silvicultural factors affecting the relative risk of young stands over a large geographical area.