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.
Over 20% of regeneration operations will be on drained peatland in the next decade in Finland. There are only a few studies comparing the planting success and the risk of pine weevil (Hylobius abetis (L.) feeding damage on mineral soil and drained peatland. Thirty sites planted with Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) container seedlings in 2009 in Southern and Central Finland were inventoried three growing seasons after planting. Prediction models for the probability of survival, pine weevil damage and the presence of ground vegetation cover were done separately for peatland and mineral soil sites. The planting success was 17% lower on peatland sites (1379 surviving seedlings ha–1) than on mineral soil (1654 seedlings ha–1). The factors explaining the survival were the ground vegetation cover and type of the planting spot on the peatland, and the ground vegetation cover on mineral soil. On mineral soil, 76% of the planting spots were on cultivated mineral soil while on peatland only 28% of the seedlings were planted on similar spots. There were also fewer seedlings that were surrounded by dense ground vegetation on mineral soil (4%) than on peatland (14%). Pine weevil feeding damage did not differ significantly on peatland (23%) or mineral soil (18%). The more time there was from clear-cutting, the more the probability of pine weevil feeding damage was reduced on both soil classes. Additionally, cover vegetation in the vicinity of the seedlings increased on mineral soil. Cultivated planting spots, especially those covered by mineral soil, prevented pine weevil feeding and reduced the harmful effects of vegetation on the seedlings both on mineral soil and peatland.
Forests are affected by climate change in various ways. This includes abiotic factors such as droughts, but also biotic damage by pest insects. There are numerous examples from cases where pest insects have benefitted from longer growing seasons or from warmer summers. Similarly, new pest insects have been able to expand their range due to climatic conditions that have changed from hostile to tolerable. Such seems to be the case with the nun moth (Lymantria monacha), an important defoliator of coniferous trees in Europe. For centuries, the species has had massive outbreaks across Central-Europe, while it has been a rare inhabitant in Northern Europe. Recently, the nun moth population in Finland has not only expanded in range, but also grown more abundant. This research note describes the results from the first years (2018–2019) of a monitoring program that is being conducted with pheromone traps across central and southern Finland. So far, the northernmost individuals were trapped near the 64 N degrees. However, there were more southern locations where no moths were trapped. The species was present in every trapping site below the latitude of 62 N degrees. More importantly, at some sites the abundance of the nun moth suggested that local forest damage may already occur. Given the current climatic scenarios for Fennoscandia, it is likely that the nun moth populations will continue to grow, which is why systematic surveys on their abundance and range expansions will be topical.