Current issue: 54(3)
Under compilation: 54(4)
A major after-use option for former peat harvesting areas has been afforestation. The profitability of afforestation with Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris L.) was studied in two 31–32-year old experiments in southern and northern Finland. The stands were established by seeding and planting, and various fertilization treatments and drainage intensities were tested. The financial performance for each plot was assessed in three steps. First, the costs occurred during the measurement time were summed up according to their present value. Then, for the rest of the rotation (i.e., from the age of 31/32 onwards) the stand management was optimized in order to maximize the net present value (MaxNPV). Finally, bare land values (BLVs) were calculated by summing up the present value of costs and the MaxNPV and converting the sum of the series into infinity. The afforestation method did not affect the mean annual increment (MAI; 9.2–9.5 m3 ha–1 a–1) in the southern experiment. In the northern experiment the afforestation method, ditch spacing and fertilization had significant effects on the MAI of the stands. The average MAI of the planted pines was 8.9 m3 ha–1 a–1, and for seeded pines it was 7.5 m3 ha–1 a–1. The BLV at an interest rate of 3% was positive for all stands in both regions. In the northern region afforestation method, ditch spacing and fertilization also had a significant effect on the BLV. When the interest rate was 5%, almost two thirds of the stands had a negative BLV in both regions.
The effects of wood ash fertilisation on tree nutrition and growth on forested peatlands has been studied using loose ash, but in practice, ash fertilisation is done almost exclusively with granulated ash. In this study, the effects of granulated ash and loose ash (both 5 Mg ha–1) on the growth and nutrition of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands were compared between a nitrogen-poor and a nitrogen-rich site over 15 years. On the nitrogen-rich site, wood ash application was also compared with commercial PK fertilisation. On the nitrogen-rich site, mean stand volume growth increase over unfertilised control treatment during the 15 year study period using granulated ash and commercial PK fertiliser was of the same magnitude (on average, 2.2–2.3 m3 ha–1 a–1). However, when loose ash was used growth increase over control was higher (3.7 m3 ha–1 a–1). On the nitrogen-poor site, the mean growth increase gained by loose or granulated ash (1.4–1.5 m3 ha–1 a–1) over the unfertilised control treatment was not significant. Fertilisation with loose ash or PK increased foliar P, K and B concentrations already in the first or second growing season, following fertilisation on both sites. Granulated ash increased foliar P concentrations on the nitrogen-rich site less than loose ash. After an initial increase, foliar P, K and B concentrations decreased at the end of study period. On the nitrogen-poor site, foliar P concentrations were below the deficiency limit by the end of the study period.
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula × P. tremuloides) is one of the fastest growing tree species in Finland. During the mid-1990s, a breeding programme was started with the aim of selecting clones that were superior in producing pulpwood. Hybrid aspen can also be grown as a short-rotation crop for bioenergy. To study clonal variation in wood and bark properties, seven clones were selected from a 12-year-old field trial located in southern Finland. From each clone, five trees were harvested and samples were taken from stem wood, stem bark and branches to determine basic density, effective heating value, moisture and ash content. Vertical within-tree variation in moisture content and basic density was also studied. The differences between clones were significant for almost all studied properties. For all studied properties there was a significant difference between wood and bark. Wood had lower ash content (0.5% vs. 3.9%), basic density (378 kg m–3 vs. 450 kg m–3) and effective heating value (18.26 MJ kg–1 vs. 19.24 MJ kg–1), but higher moisture content (55% vs. 49%) than bark. The values for branches were intermediate. These results suggest that the properties of hybrid aspen important for energy use could be improved by clonal selection. However, selecting clones based on fast growth only may be challenging since it may lead to a decrease in hybrid aspen wood density.
The impacts of weed control, ash fertilization and their interaction were tested for the afforestation of former agricultural peat-based soil with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in northern Finland in a factorial arrangement of four treatments. Weed control with herbicides was carried out in July 1 and 2 years from planting, and wood ash (5 Mg ha–1) was applied in the spring of the 2nd year. Various vegetation, tree growth and nutrient assessments were made over the 21-year study period. Weed control decreased the weed cover by 36–56 percentage points, vegetation height by 4–26 cm and thus shading of seedlings by vegetation for at least 4 years after planting. For the same period, ash fertilization increased vegetation height by 6–15 cm and shading of seedlings. Weed control reduced seedling mortality by 27 percentage points in 21 years, but ash fertilization had no significant effect. Ash fertilization increased foliar potassium and boron concentrations, but its effect declined, and severe K-deficiency was recorded 21 years after planting. Up to the 9th year, weed control had a greater influence on growth than fertilization. Later the significance of fertilization increased due to an aggravated K-deficiency. Stand volume at year 21 for the untreated control plots was 8 m3 ha–1. Weed control and fertilization increased stand volume by 20 and 35 m3 ha–1, with a combined effect of 55 m3 ha–1. The effects of weed control and fertilization were additive and no significant interactions were found. Due to severe K-deficiencies, re-fertilization of all treatments would be necessary for the continued survival and growth of Scots pine.
The long-term effects of fertilization on the needle nutrient concentrations, growth and financial performance of a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand was examined in a thick-peated drained peatland forest located in Central Finland. At the trial establishment in 1985, the trees were suffering from P and K deficiencies, but their N status was good. The fertilizer treatments were Control, PK (rock phosphate + potassium chloride), ApaBio (apatite phosphorus + biotite) and wood ash, applied both with and without N and replicated six times. All treatments containing phosphorus and potassium increased foliar P and K concentrations above the deficiency limits up to the end of the study period of 26 years. The effect of the fertilization on stand volume growth of Scots pine was strong and continued still at the end of the study period. The trees on ApaBio and PK plots grew nearly two-fold and those on Ash plots over two-fold compared with the control plots. In a thinning made at the end of the study period the total logging removal on fertilized plots was 1.5–2.2 times greater and included more saw logs than on the control plots. Ash fertilizer treatment outperformed other fertilizer treatments as well as the control. With a 5% discounted equivalent annual income (EAI) of Ash fertilizer treatment was statistically significantly (p=0.009) almost three times higher than that of control. As a conclusion, fertilization (either using PK fertilizers or Ash) in N-rich drained peatlands is a financially feasible method of management.
The biomass production and nutrient uptake of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), downy birch (Betula pubescens Erhr.), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench), native willows Salix triandra L. and S. phylicifolia L. and exotic willows S. x dasyclados and S. ’Aquatica’ growing on a clay mineral soil field (Sukeva) and on two cut-away peatland areas (Piipsanneva, Valkeasuo) were investigated.
Biomass production of downy birch was greater than that of silver birch, and the biomass production of the native willows greater than that of the exotic ones. The performance of S. phylicifolia was the best of the studied willow species. Exotic willows were susceptible to frost damage and their winter hardiness was poor. The production of all species was lower on the clay mineral soil field than on the cut-away peatland areas. Fertilization of birches and alder – on the double dose given to the willows – increased biomass production. After 6 growing seasons the leafless biomass production of fertilized silver birch at Piipsanneca was 21 t ha-1 (at Valkeasuo 34 t ha-1) and of grey alder 24 t ha-1, and that of S. triandra after five growing seasons 31 t ha-1, S. phylicifolia 38 t ha-1 and of S. x dasyclados 16 t ha-1.
6-year-old stands of silver birch bound more nutrients per unit biomass than downy birch stands. Grey alder bound more N, Ca and Co but less Mn and Zn per unit biomass than silver and downy birch. On the field more P was bound in grey alder per unit biomass compared to downy birch. The willows had more K per unit biomass than the other tree species, and the exotic willow species more N than the native ones. Less N, K and Mg were bound per unit biomass of S. phylicifolia compared to the other tree species.
The effects of repeated fertilizer treatment on biomass production and nutrient status of willow (Salix ’Aquatica’) plantations established on two cut-away peatland areas in western Finland were studied over a rotation period of three years. Comparisons were made between single fertilizer applications and repeated annual fertilization.
The annually repeated fertilizer application increased the amounts of acid ammonium acetate extractable phosphorus and potassium in the soil as well as the concentrations of foliar nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compared to single application. Depending on the fertilizer treatment and application rate, annual fertilizer application resulted in over two times higher biomass production when compared to single fertilizer application over a three-year rotation period. The effect of phosphorus fertilizer application lasted longer than that of nitrogen. The optimum fertilization regime for biomass production requires that nitrogen fertilizer should be applied annually, but the effect of phosphorus can last at least over a rotation of three years. Potassium fertilizer treatment did not increase the yield in any of the experiments during the first three years. The leafless, above-ground yield of three-year-old, annually NP-fertilized willow plantations was 9.5 t ha-1 and the total biomass, including stems, leaves, roots and the stump, averaged 17 t ha-1.
The effects of fertilized treatment on the soil nutrient concentrations, biomass production and nutrient consumption of Salix x dasyclados and Salix ’Aquatica’ were studied in five experiments on three cut-away peatland sites in western and eastern Finland during three years. Factorial experiments with all combinations of N (100 kg ha-1 a-1), P (30 kg ha-1 a-1) and K (80 kg ha-1 a-1) were conducted.
The application of P and K fertilizers increased the concentrations of corresponding extractable nutrients in the soil as well as in willow foliage. N-fertilization increased foliar nitrogen concentration. An increase in age usually led to decreases in bark and wood N, P and K concentrations and increases in bark Ca concentrations. N-fertilization increased the three-year biomass yield 1.5–2.7 times when compared to control plots. P-fertilization increased the yield only in those experimental fields whose substrates had the lowest phosphorus concentration. K-fertilization did not increase the yield in any of the experimental fields. The highest total biomass yield of NPK-fertilized willow after three growing seasons, 23 t ha-1, was distributed in the following way: wood 42%, bark 19%, foliage 17%, stumps 6% and roots 16%. As the yield and stand age increased, more biomass was allocated in above-ground wood. Three-year-old stands (above-ground biomass 18 t ha-1) contained as much as 196 kg N ha-1, 26 kg P ha-1, 101 kg K ha-1, 74 kg Ca ha-1 and 37 kg Mg ha -1. By far the highest proportion of nutrients accumulated in the foliage. The bark and wood contained relatively high proportions of calcium and phosphorus. With an increase in age and size, the amount of nitrogen and potassium bound in one dry-mass ton of willow biomass decreased while that of phosphorus remained unchanged.
The potential alleopathic inhibitive effects of aqueous extracts of 13 peatland plant species on germination, radicle and seedling growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), silver and downy birch (Betula pendula Roth., B. pubescens Ehrh.) were studied. Freshly cut plant parts were finely ground, mixed with distilled water and agitated. The proportions of fresh plant mass in the mass-based extracts varied within the range of 1, 5, 10 and 20% (w/w). The seeds were germinated in petri dishes moistened with the plant extracts. In a separate experiment growth of birch seedlings irrigated with the extracts was studied.
Ledum palustre, Vaccinium uliginosum and Empetrum nigrum extracts, and in certain experiments extracts of other species, inhibited the germination of Scots pine and birch seeds. Results from the different experiments were not, however, fully consistent. None of the low (1% w/w) extract concentrations had any effect on germination. Strong extract concentrations (20% w/w) inhibited germination of pine seedlings significantly. The extracts affected only slightly the growth of potted birch seedlings.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.