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Articles by Jari Kouki

Category: Commentary

article id 445, category Commentary
Bengt Gunnar Jonsson, Jari Kouki, Timo Kuuluvainen. (2011). Northern Primeval Forests – Ecology, Conservation and Management. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 445. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.445
  • Jonsson, Mid Sweden University, Dept. of Natural Sciences, Sundsvall, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail: bengt-gunnar.jonsson@miun.se (email)
  • Kouki, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: jari.kouki@uef.fi
  • Kuuluvainen, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Science, Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: timo.kuuluvainen@helsinki.fi

Category: Research article

article id 10084, category Research article
Mihails Čugunovs, Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Jari Kouki. (2020). Proximity to charred logs in burned forests likely affects decomposition processes in the soil. Silva Fennica vol. 54 no. 1 article id 10084. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.10084
Highlights: Standardised organic substrate decomposition was tentatively observed to be faster adjacent to non-charred downed logs than away from the logs or adjacent to charred logs; A spatial linkage was observed between non-charred logs and decomposition in the soil in burned boreal forests; Proximity to a charred log may provide a micro-environment where decomposition rates differ from the surrounding forest soil.

We studied the spatial decomposition rates of standardised organic substrates in soils (burned boreal pine-dominated sub-xeric forests in eastern Finland), with respect to charred and non-charred coarse woody debris (CWD). Decomposition rates of rooibos plant litter inside teabags (C:N = 42.870 ± 1.841) and pressed-sheet Nordic hardwood pulp (consisting of mainly alpha-cellulose) were measured at 0.2 m distance from 20 charred (LC0.2) and 40 non-charred logs (LNC0.2). We also measured decomposition at 60 plots located 3–10 m away from downed logs (L3,10). The rooibos decomposition rate constant ‘k’ was 8.4% greater at the LNC0.2 logs than at the L3,10 or LC0.2 logs. Cellulose decomposed more completely in 1 micron mesh bags at LNC0.2 (44% of buried bags had leftover material) than at LC0.2 (76%) or L3,10 (70%). Decomposition of cellulose material was rapid but varied greatly between sampling plots. Our results indicate that decomposition of the standardised organic matter was more rapid close to CWD pieces than further away. However, only the plots located near non-charred logs (LNC0.2) exhibited high decomposition rates, with no corresponding increase observed at the charred logs (LC0.2). This suggests a possible noteworthy indirect effect of forest burning on soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition rates close to charred CWD after forest fires. We urge for more studies on this tentative observation as it may affect the estimates on how fires affect carbon cycling in forests.

  • Čugunovs, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mihails.cugunovs@gmail.com (email)
  • Tuittila, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8861-3167 E-mail: eeva-stiina.tuittila@uef.fi
  • Kouki, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2624-8592 E-mail: jari.kouki@uef.fi
article id 7723, category Research article
Mihails Čugunovs, Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Ida Sara-Aho, Laura Pekkola, Jari Kouki. (2017). Recovery of boreal forest soil and tree stand characteristics a century after intensive slash-and-burn cultivation. Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 5 article id 7723. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7723
Highlights: Soil organic matter stocks have still not fully recovered after a century of stand succession and passive recovery after slash-and-burn period; Historical slash-and-burn stands feature higher live birch and standing dead wood volume than controls; If passive rewildening is used, Fennoscandian boreal forests need more than a century to regain naturalness.

Passive rewildening of forest ecosystems is commonly used for rehabilitating degraded habitats closer to their natural origin in addition to costly active restoration measures. However, it is not clear if passive processes are effective and how long the recovery of main ecosystem properties takes. We investigate the recovery of forest soil and tree stand characteristics a century after cessation of slash-and-burn cultivation, a major historical intensive disturbance regime that was applied widely in boreal zone of Finland until late 1800s. We systematically sampled soil and tree stand parameters within former slash-and-burn and nearby control areas. Humus layer thickness and soil organic matter (SOM) stocks were still lower in the historical slash-and-burn than in control areas. Slash-and-burn areas also had a larger volume of live birch trees and a higher standing dead wood volume than control areas. Accordingly, organic matter (humus layer thickness and SOM stocks) correlated negatively with birch standing live tree volume. Combined OM stock in humus and uppermost 10 cm mineral soil layer was positively correlated with lying dead wood volume. Overall, we observed clear recovery of several natural properties but we also found that a century after cessation of frequent anthropogenic burnings, clear legacies of disturbance in the above- and below-ground parts of boreal ecosystem were evident. Our results indicate that if only passive rewildening is applied as a restoration measure, the full recovery of boreal forest is slow and the effects of historical land-use may persist for over hundred years in soil and tree properties.

  • Čugunovs, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mihails.cugunovs@uef.fi (email)
  • Tuittila, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8861-3167 E-mail: eeva-stiina.tuittila@uef.fi
  • Sara-Aho, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: ida.sara-aho@mhy.fi
  • Pekkola, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: laura.pekkola@gmail.com
  • Kouki, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2624-8592 E-mail: jari.kouki@uef.fi
article id 1718, category Research article
Mihails Čugunovs, Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Lauri Mehtätalo, Laura Pekkola, Ida Sara-Aho, Jari Kouki. (2017). Variability and patterns in forest soil and vegetation characteristics after prescribed burning in clear-cuts and restoration burnings. Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 1 article id 1718. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1718
Highlights: Soil parameter variability is similar across sites of different disturbance type; Variability of understory vegetation biomass and cover is higher and more different between sites than soil variability; Sites studied here reflect well the assumed disturbance-type gradient based on PCA; Sampling six forest sites per treatment should provide good statistical power to capture the differences in soil organic matter stocks.

Forest ecological restoration by burning is widely applied to promote natural, early-successional sites and increase landscape biodiversity. Burning is also used as a forest management practice to facilitate forest regeneration after clearcutting. Besides the desired goals, restoration burnings also affect soil biogeochemistry, particularly soil organic matter (SOM) and related soil carbon stocks but the long-term effects are poorly understood. However, in order to study these effects, a reliable estimate of spatial variability is first needed for effective sampling. Here we investigate spatial variability of SOM and vegetation features 13 years after burnings and in combination with variable harvest levels. We sampled four experimental sites representing distinct management and restoration treatments with an undisturbed control. While variability of vegetation cover and biomass was generally higher in disturbed sites, soil parameter variability was not different between the four sites. The joint ecological patterns of soil and vegetation parameters across the whole sample continuum support well the prior assumptions on the characteristic disturbance conditions within each of the study sites. We designed and employed statistical simulations as a means to plan prospective sampling. Sampling six forest sites for each treatment type with 30 independent soil cores per site would provide enough statistical power to adequately capture the impacts of burning on SOM based on the data we obtained here and statistical simulations. In conclusion, we argue that an informed design-based approach to documenting the ecosystem effects of forest burnings is worth applying both through obtaining new data and meta-analysing the existing.

  • Čugunovs, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mihails.cugunovs@uef.fi (email)
  • Tuittila, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8861-3167 E-mail: eeva-stiina.tuittila@uef.fi
  • Mehtätalo, University of Eastern Finland, School of Computing, Science Park, Länsikatu 15, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8128-0598 E-mail: lauri.mehtatalo@uef.fi
  • Pekkola, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: laura.pekkola@gmail.com
  • Sara-Aho, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: ida.sara-aho@mhy.fi
  • Kouki, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2624-8592 E-mail: jari.kouki@uef.fi
article id 88, category Research article
Seppo Rouvinen, Jari Kouki. (2011). Tree regeneration in artificial canopy gaps established for restoring natural structural variability in a Scots pine stand. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 88. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.88
In Finland and elsewhere in Europe, many protected forest areas include also stands that were previously managed and that lack several naturally occurring stand characteristics. In these areas, ecosystem restoration can be used to facilitate and accelerate the formation of structural and habitat features resembling those of natural forests. For example, by creating small gaps it could be possible to diversify forest structure and tree species composition and to produce dead wood while still maintaining mostly continous canopy coverage. We examined experimentally the effects of artificial gap formation on post-disturbance tree regeneration in the gaps in a young protected, but formerly commercially managed pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated forest. In the experimental sites, gap size and the portion of girdled trees out of all treated trees (girdled and felled trees combined) in the gaps varied. Natural and artificial (direct seeding of silver birch Betula pendula Roth) tree regeneration and development was monitored both on disturbed (scarified soil patches) and undisturbed forest floor during three growing seasons. Results show that gaps can be valuable in diversifying stand structure but to be successful and rapid, tree regeneration needs disturbed forest floor. Pine regenerated numerously, but birch had clearly lower regeneration, especially on small-sized gaps. In conclusion, increasing tree diversity in young pine-dominated forests seems to be difficult when only small artificial gaps are used. But even small gaps can be used to create and maintain diverse cohort structure of the dominant species and thus they can contribute to restoration goals.
  • Rouvinen, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: seppo.rouvinen@uef.fi (email)
  • Kouki, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 393, category Research article
Seppo Rouvinen, Anne Rautiainen, Jari Kouki. (2005). A relation between historical forest use and current dead woody material in a boreal protected old-growth forest in Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 39 no. 1 article id 393. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.393
Assessing the human impact on the naturalness and vegetation characteristics of protected areas is one of the key issues when designing forest conservation networks in Fennoscandia. We studied the small-scale, detailed relationship between forest utilization history and the current availability of dead woody material in a protected old-growth forest area in North Karelia, eastern Finland. From the study area of 32.4 ha, all the stumps (diameter ≥ 5 cm and height < 1.3 m, classified as natural, man-made and of undetermined origin) were measured using 25 x 25 m sub-plots. Standing and fallen dead trees (dbh ≥ 5 cm) were measured on 50 x 50 m plots in an area of 7.8 ha. The average number of stumps was 130 per ha, and over half of the stumps were classified as man-made. However, the historical documents since the 1910s showed no logging in the area: some of the largest man-made stumps probably originated from an earlier time, but most of those stumps were made considerably later. The variation in the total number of stumps (per ha) was great (range 0–560/ha, 0–16 m2/ha), with no clear clustering in space. However, clustering of man-made stumps was detected. The average volume of pooled standing and fallen trees was 84 m3/ha, with a range of 37–146 m3/ha. The other noticeable man-made disturbance besides logging was notching of aspens, which has a scatteredly significant influence on the amount of dead trees. In conclusion, the protected old-growth forest was not as a whole in a natural state but showed different degrees of human impact from virtually untouched patches to quite heavily managed patches. The results suggest that the number of man-made stumps may be a relatively quick and easy method of assessing the naturalness of woody biomass structure in the Fennoscandian boreal forests.
  • Rouvinen, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: seppo.rouvinen@joensuu.fi (email)
  • Rautiainen, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kouki, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Review article

article id 446, category Review article
Guntis Brumelis, Bengt Gunnar Jonsson, Jari Kouki, Timo Kuuluvainen, Ekaterina Shorohova. (2011). Forest naturalness in northern Europe: perspectives on processes, structures and species diversity. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 5 article id 446. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.446
Saving the remaining natural forests in northern Europe has been one of the main goals to halt the ongoing decline of forest biodiversity. To facilitate the recognition, mapping and efficient conservation of natural forests, there is an urgent need for a general formulation, based on ecological patterns and processes, of the concept of “forest naturalness”. However, complexity, structural idiosyncracy and dynamical features of unmanaged forest ecosystems at various spatio-temporal scales pose major challenges for such a formulation. The definitions hitherto used for the concept of forest naturalness can be fruitfully grouped into three dimensions: 1) structure-based concepts of natural forest, 2) species-based concepts of natural forest and 3) process-based concepts of natural forest. We propose that explicit and simultaneous consideration of all these three dimensions of naturalness can better cope with the natural variability of forest states and also aid in developing strategies for forest conservation and management in different situations. To become operational, criteria and indicators of forest naturalness need to integrate the three dimensions by combining species (e.g. red-listed-, indicator- and umbrella species) with stand and landscape level structural features that are indicative of disturbance and succession processes.
  • Brumelis, Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Kronvalda bulv. 4, Riga, LV-1586, Latvia; ORCID ID:E-mail: guntis.brumelis@lu.lv (email)
  • Jonsson, Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kouki, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Joensuu ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kuuluvainen, Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Shorohova, Saint-Petersburg State Forest Academy, Saint-Petersburg, Russia & Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit, Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Discussion article

article id 270, category Discussion article
Seppo Rouvinen, Jari Kouki. (2008). The natural northern European boreal forests: unifying the concepts, terminologies, and their application. Silva Fennica vol. 42 no. 1 article id 270. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.270
Recent emphasis on conserving the biodiversity has stressed the value of natural ecosystems in saving the species from extinction. In the Fennoscandian region the conifer-dominated boreal forests form the largest single ecosystem. The forests have been under varying intensity of human influence for decades or centuries. Recent attempts have tried to seek the last remaining natural forests to be included in the protection programmes. However, due to long and widespread human influence, finding and defining the natural forests has proven to be extremely difficult, not only because they are so rare but also because the concept of natural forest is vague. These difficulties are partly seen through the diverse terminology used. We first review the varying terminology as seen in recent studies. Secondly, we propose the basis for defining the natural forest and show some intriguing and challenging difficulties are involved in the concept. These difficulties are at least partly related to inherent strong and long-term dynamic component in boreal forest ecosystems that is manifested over several temporal and spatial scales. Finally, we outline a more general terminology with associated indicators and measurements that might be used in the classification and terminology. Conceptual clarification is necessary, for example, to compile ecologically justified and representative global, national and regional forest statistics. Many currently applied definitions of “forest” and “natural” that are applied in the context of forest statistics overlook ecologically important components of natural forests, and thus provide quite misleading or inadequate data of existing diversity patterns in these ecosystems.
  • Rouvinen, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kouki, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: jari.kouki@joensuu.fi (email)

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