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Articles by Āris Jansons

Category: Research article

article id 7746, category Research article
Jānis Donis, Māra Kitenberga, Guntars Šņepsts, Roberts Matisons, Juris Zariņš, Āris Jansons. (2017). The forest fire regime in Latvia during 1922–2014. Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 5 article id 7746. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7746
Highlights: Climate effects and human influence on forest fire activity in Latvia was assessed using time-series analysis; Drought conditions during summer season had the strongest effect on fire activity of tested climatic variables; Negative trends and spatial distribution pattern of fire activity suggests of prevailing human influence on forest fire regime over the 20th century.

Fire as disturbance of forests has an important ecological and economical role in boreal and hemiboreal forests. The occurrence of forest fires is both climatically and anthropogenically determined and shifts in fire regimes are expected due to climate change. Although fire histories have been well documented in boreal regions, there is still insufficient information about fire occurrence in the Baltic States. In this study, spatio-temporal patterns and climatic drivers of forest fires were assessed by means of spatial and time-series analysis. The efficiency of Canadian Fire Weather (FWI) indices as indicators for fire activity was tested. The study was based on data from the literature, archives, and the Latvian State Forest service database. During the period 1922–2014, the occurrence and area affected by forest fires has decreased although the total area of forest land has nearly doubled, suggesting improvement of the fire suppression system as well as changes in socioeconomic situation. The geographical distribution of forest fires revealed two pronounced clusters near the largest cities of Riga and Daugavpils, suggesting dominance of human causes of ignitions. The occurrence of fires was mainly influenced by drought. FWI appeared to be efficient in predicting the fire occurrence: 23–34% of fires occurred on days with a high or extremely high fire danger class, which overall had a relative occurrence of only 4.3–4.6%. During the 20th century, the peak of fire activity shifted from May to April, probably due to global warming and socioeconomic reasons. The results of this study are relevant for forest hazard mitigation and development of fire activity prediction system in Latvia.

  • Donis, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.donis@silava.lv
  • Kitenberga, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: mara.kitenberga@gmail.com (email)
  • Šņepsts, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: guntars.snepsts@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv
  • Zariņš, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: juris.zarins@silava.lv
  • Jansons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 1442, category Research article
Silva Šēnhofa, Mārtiņš Zeps, Roberts Matisons, Jānis Smilga, Dagnija Lazdiņa, Āris Jansons. (2016). Effect of climatic factors on tree-ring width of Populus hybrids in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 1 article id 1442. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1442
Highlights: Hybrid poplar and hybrid aspen were sensitive to temperature in summer and dormant periods, but none of the tested factors were strictly limiting; Hybrid poplar was sensitive to a higher number of climatic factors than hybrid aspen; Temperature showed a negative correlation with tree-ring width.

Fast-growing hybrids of Populus L. have an increasing importance as a source of renewable energy and as industrial wood. Nevertheless, the long-term sensitivity of Populus hybrids to weather conditions and hence to possible climatic hazards in Northern Europe have been insufficiently studied, likely due to the limited age of the trees (short rotation). In this study, the climatic sensitivity of ca. 65-year-old hybrid poplars (Populus balsamifera L. × P. laurifolia Ledeb.), growing at two sites in the western part of Latvia, and ca. 55-year-old hybrid aspens (Populus tremuloides Michx. × P. tremula L.), growing in the eastern part of Latvia, have been studied using classical dendrochronological techniques. The high-frequency variation of tree-ring width (TRW) of hybrid poplar from both sites was similar, but it differed from hybrid aspen due to the diverse parental species and geographic location of the stands. Nevertheless, some common tendencies in TRW were observed for both hybrids. Climatic factors influencing TRW were generally similar for both hybrids, but their composition differed. The strength of climate-TRW relationships was similar, but the hybrid poplar was affected by a higher number of climatic factors. Hybrid poplar was sensitive to factors related to water deficit in late summer in the previous and current years. Hybrid aspen was sensitive to conditions in the year of formation of tree-ring. Both hybrids also displayed a reaction to temperature during the dormant period. The observed climate-growth relationships suggest that increasing temperatures might burden the radial growth of the studied hybrids of Populus.

  • Šēnhofa, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: silva.senhofa@gmail.com
  • Zeps, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: martins.zeps@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Smilga, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.smilga@silava.lv
  • Lazdiņa, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: dagnija.lazdina@silava.lv
  • Jansons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 1391, category Research article
Roberts Matisons, Jānis Jansons, Juris Katrevičs, Āris Jansons. (2015). Relation of tree-ring width and earlywood vessel size of alien Quercus rubra L. with climatic factors in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 4 article id 1391. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1391
Highlights: Climate-growth relationships of red oak from three sites in Latvia were studied; Tree-ring width was mainly affected by temperature and precipitation in late summer; Vessel size was correlated with temperature parameters in autumn–spring; Sets of climatic factors significant for growth of red oak differed between sites; Changes in climate-growth relationships occurred during 20th century.

The effect of climatic factors on wood anatomy of the alien red oak (Quercus rubra L.) growing in three experimental plantations in Latvia was assessed by classical dendrochronological techniques. Two tree-ring proxies – tree-ring width (TRW) and mean area of earlywood vessel lumen (VLA) – were studied on 33 trees. Annual variation of TRW amongst trees was similar (mean r = 0.46), but there was more individuality in VLA (mean r = 0.26); nevertheless, chronologies of both proxies had rather synchronous variation amongst the sites. Annual variation of TRW was affected by factors related to water deficit in late summer, as suggested by the negative effect of temperature and positive effect of precipitation that have intensified during the 20th century, likely due to warming. Although weather conditions during the dormant period did not directly affect TRW, temperature during the autumn-spring period has been the main climatic determinant of VLA likely via influence on overwintering and hence vigour of tree. This suggests that conductive properties of wood and hence the susceptibility to water deficit have been affected by weather conditions before the formation of tree rings. During the 20th century, sensitivity of VLA has shifted from temperature in winter to temperature in autumn likely due to climate change. Still, the positive effect of these factors suggests that warming of climate would increase VLA and hence the risk of embolism and xylem disfunction. Therefore, the importance of availability of water for growth of red oak in Latvia is increasing.

  • Matisons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Jansons, Latvian Forest Competence Centre, Dzērbenes str. 27, Riga, Latvia, LV 1006 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.jansons@silava.lv
  • Katrevičs, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: juris.katrevics@silava.lv
  • Jansons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 1262, category Research article
Āris Jansons, Roberts Matisons, Māra Zadiņa, Linards Sisenis, Jānis Jansons. (2015). The effect of climatic factors on height increment of Scots pine in sites differing by continentality in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 3 article id 1262. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1262
Highlights: Height increment-climate relationships of Scots pine were assessed using dendrochronological techniques; Annual height increment was significantly affected by climatic factors; In western Latvia, temperature in preceding summer mainly affected height increment; In eastern Latvia height increment was affected by previous autumn temperature; During the 20th century, the effect of climatic factors has altered likely dues to climate change.
Height growth of trees is a crucial parameter that influences the composition and productivity of forest stands and quality of timber; however, the relationships between annual height increment (HI) and climatic factors have been poorly studied. In this study, the effect of monthly mean temperature and precipitation sums on the HI of Scots pine in two sites in Latvia have been determined using dendrochronological techniques. Correlation and response function analyses were conducted for entire chronologies of HI and for 50-year intervals within them. Climatic factors significantly affected the HI of Scots pine; however, not only did the suite of significant factors differ between the sites, but the influence of these factors changed during the 20th century. In the site in western Latvia where climate is milder, temperature in the preceding summer was the main climatic determinant of HI. The effect of temperature in the dormant period and spring was significant during the first part of the 20th century, while the effect of temperature in the previous September and November has become significant since the second half of the 20th century. In the site in eastern Latvia where summers are hotter, HI has been affected by both temperature and water deficit related factors in the summer. However, since the later part of the 20th century, the effect of temperature in the previous October has intensified and become the main climatic determinant of HI.
  • Jansons,  LSFRI “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Matisons,  LSFRI “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Zadiņa,  LSFRI “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: mara.zadina@silava.lv
  • Sisenis, LUA Forestry Faculty, Akadēmijas str. 11, Jelgava, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: linards.sisenis@llu.lv
  • Jansons, Forest Competence Centre, Dzērbenes str. 27, Riga, Latvia, LV1006 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.jansons@silava.lv
article id 1124, category Research article
Āris Jansons, Mārtiņš Zeps, Juris Rieksts-Riekstiņš, Roberts Matisons, Oskars Krišāns. (2014). Height increment of hybrid aspen Populus tremuloides x P. tremula as a function of weather conditions in central part of Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 48 no. 5 article id 1124. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1124
Highlights: Intra-annual height growth of hybrid aspen was monitored; Clones with early leaf flushing dates showed faster height growth; Height growth was generally controlled by temperature; Fast-growing hybrids were more robust to weather conditions than slow-growing ones; Potential evapotranspiration (moisture regime) negatively affected height growth of clones with delayed phenology.
Height growth of young hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) was studied in relation to weather conditions. Height of clones with different leaf flushing phenology (early, intermediate and late) was monitored during the growing periods of 2010 and 2011 in a plantation established on former agricultural land. Mean daily height increment (HI) was calculated. Multiple linear regression was used to determine which weather factors (variables) had significant effect on HI. Mean seasonal height growth (mean seasonal HI) between clones (groups) was compared by ANOVA. In both years, HI was significantly higher for clones with early and intermediate leaf flushing compared to clones with late leaf flushing. The effect of weather factors also differed between clones according to their leaf flushing phenology; it was the weakest for HI of clones with early leaf flushing compared to clones with intermediate and late leaf flushing. Mean temperature was the main factor, which positively affected HI of all clones, suggesting that warmer climate might be beneficial for height growth of young hybrid aspen in Latvia. Nevertheless, significant negative relationship between HI and potential evapotranspiration (PET) was observed for clones with delayed leaf flushing, suggesting negative effect of increasing variability of precipitation on growth. Thus, the differences in height growth intensity might be related to growth sensitivity to weather conditions. On the other hand, such differences in height growth between clones might be caused by competition (i.e. with herbs), as trees with early leaf flushing might conquer more resources and become more robust against the environmental fluctuation.
  • Jansons, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Zeps, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: martins.zeps@silava.lv
  • Rieksts-Riekstiņš, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: Juris.Riekstins@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Krišāns, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: oskars.krisans@silava.lv

Category: Research note

article id 10014, category Research note
Āris Jansons, Roberts Matisons, Virgilijus Baliuckas, Līga Purina, Oskars Krišāns, Jānis Jansons, Imants Baumanis. (2018). Performance variation of lodgepole pine provenances in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 5 article id 10014. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.10014
Highlights: Performance of 36 provenances of lodgepole pine in 14 trials was studied; The 29 year survival was ca. 40%; Provenance and provenance × trial interaction affected dimensions of lodgepole pine; Provenances from lower latitudes were the most productive.

Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) has been extensively introduced in Scandinavia on less productive sites. Under a changing climate, it also has a high potential in the eastern Baltic region; still, its performance there has scarcely been reported. This study investigated the performance of 36 Canadian provenances in 14 trials in western Latvia. Tree dimensions showed notable provenance and provenance-by-environment variation, implying that local selection by provenance can be applied for improved yield. Southern provenances showed the best height growth, while southwestern (more oceanic) provenances excelled in diameter growth. Most of the quality traits were affected by provenance or provenance-by-environment interaction, yet the variation was lower than for the growth traits.

  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv (email)
  • Matisons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv
  • Baliuckas, Forest Institute, Lithuanian Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Tree Genetics and Breeding, Liepu St. 1, Girionys, LT-53101 Kaunas distr., Lithuania ORCID ID:E-mail: virgilijus.baliuckas@mi.lt
  • Purina, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: liga.purina@silava.lv
  • Krišāns, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: oskars.krisans@silava.lv
  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.jansons.silava@gmail.com
  • Baumanis, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ”Silava”, Department of Forest Tree Breeding, Rigas St.t. 111, Salaspils LV-2169, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: imants.baumanis@silava.lv
article id 10009, category Research note
Jānis Donis, Māra Kitenberga, Guntars Šņepsts, Edgars Dubrovskis, Āris Jansons. (2018). Factors affecting windstorm damage at the stand level in hemiboreal forests in Latvia: case study of 2005 winter storm. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 4 article id 10009. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.10009
Highlights: In hemiboreal forests in Latvia, dominant tree species, admixture of spruce in canopy-layer, mean height, timing of thinnings, upwind forest edges and wind gusts had significant effect on windstorm damage occurrence at stand-level; Stands on peat soils were more damaged than stands on mineral soils; Tree species composition of canopy-layer was not statistically significant in the model.

In managed European hemiboreal forests, windstorms have a notable ecological and socio-economic impact. In this study, stand properties affecting windstorm damage occurrence at the stand-level were assessed using a Generalized Linear Mixed model. After 2005 windstorm, 5959 stands dominated by birch (Betula spp.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), with mean height > 10 m were inventoried. Windstorm damage was positively associated with spruce and pine-dominated stands, increasing mean height, fresh forest edges, decreasing time since the last thinning and stronger wind gusts. Tree species composition – mixed or monodominant – was not statistically significant in the model; while, the admixture of spruce in the canopy layer was positively associated with higher windstorm damage. Stands on peat soils were more damaged than stands on mineral soils. Birch stands were more damaged than pine stands. This information could be used in forest management planning, selection of silvicultural treatments to increase forest resilience to natural disturbances.

  • Donis, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rigas 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV-2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.donis@silava.lv (email)
  • Kitenberga, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rigas 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV-2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: mara.kitenberga@gmail.com
  • Šņepsts, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rigas 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV-2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: guntars.snepsts@silava.lv
  • Dubrovskis, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Liela iela 2, Jelgava, Latvia, LV-3001 ORCID ID:E-mail: edgars.dubrovskis@llu.lv
  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rigas 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV-2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 9899, category Research note
Linda Robalte, Diāna Jansone, Didzis Elferts, Roberts Matisons, Āris Jansons. (2018). Bilberry ramet dimensions in relation to stand age in oligotrophic conditions in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 1 article id 9899. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.9899
Highlights: Bilberry ramet dimensions (age, diameter, height) and their structural diversity, as well as cover, increased with stand age; Active rejuvenation of ramets was observed in younger stands; The oldest bilberry ramets (>10 years of age) occurred in stands older than 70 years.

Dwarf shrub layer is an important component of boreal and hemiboreal forest ecosystems that has received little attention, particularly regarding its structural diversity, which, however, could serve as an additional proxy for habitat quality. Dimensions of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) ramets were assessed in two sites in Latvia covered by dry oligotrophic Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands 10–230 years of age. In total, 20 sampling plots (10×10 m) with 156 subplots (1×1 m) were sampled and 630 bilberry ramets analysed. The dimensions of ramets (age, diameter, and height) and cover of bilberry increased with stand age. The age of the studied ramets ranged 2–13 years; 5–6 years-old ramets were most frequent in all stands. The skewness of the distribution of the ramet dimensions shifted with stand age, leaning towards the higher values. Lower structural diversity of ramets was observed in stands 50–100 years of age. The highest diversity of ramet age structure occurred in stands younger than 150 years, whereas the oldest and largest ramets mostly occurred in the older stands (>150 years). Considering structural diversity of ramets, recovery of bilberry after stand-replacing disturbance (e.g. clearcut) was a continuous process, similarly to that observed in tree layer.

  • Robalte, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: robalte.l@gmail.com (email)
  • Jansone, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia; University of Latvia, Faculty of Biology, Jelgavas Str. 1, LV 1004, Riga, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: diana.jansone13@gmail.com
  • Elferts, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia; University of Latvia, Faculty of Biology, Jelgavas Str. 1, LV 1004, Riga, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: didzis.elferts@lu.lv
  • Matisons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: roberts.matisons@silava.lv
  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 7818, category Research note
Roberts Matisons, Guntars Šņepsts, Līga Puriņa, Jānis Donis, Āris Jansons. (2018). Dominant height growth of European beech at the northeasternmost stands in Europe. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 1 article id 7818. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7818
Highlights: The dominant height growth of the introduced European beech was modelled using the generalised algebraic difference approach; The Chapman-Richards and Sloboda models showed the best fit to the data; Height growth of the second generation trees exceeded the first generation trees; In the western part of Latvia, height growth of beech exceeded that in southern Sweden.

The height growth of trees influences the productivity of stands and the competitiveness of species, shaping the range of their distribution. Dominant height growth was assessed for European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), growing outside of its natural distribution range in the western part of Latvia. In 10 neighbouring experimental stands, 20 dominant trees were felled for stem analysis. Height growth was modelled using the generalised algebraic difference approach, applying several non-linear equations and mixed procedures. The Chapman-Richards and Sloboda models showed the best fit to the data. Height growth of the second generation (younger) trees exceeded that of the first generation, and followed curve for a higher site index, suggesting sufficient adaptation and improving conditions. Height growth of the studied beech exceeded predictions for beech in southern Sweden, which is considered to be the northern limit of the species range, yet the growth pattern differed. In Latvia, slower height growth was estimated for site indices < 32 m (in 100 years) during the first 60 years, yet larger maximal height was predicted, suggesting a longer establishment period. Nevertheless, the improving height growth indicated increasing potential for the application of the species in commercial forestry, and an expansion of the species within the region even during the 21th century.

  • Matisons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Šņepsts, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: guntars.snepsts@silava.lv
  • Puriņa, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: liga.purina@silava.lv
  • Donis, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.donis@silava.lv
  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Rīgas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
article id 7771, category Research note
Māra Kitenberga, Roberts Matisons, Āris Jansons, Jānis Donis. (2018). Teleconnection between the Atlantic sea surface temperature and forest fires in Latvia and Estonia. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 1 article id 7771. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7771
Highlights: Forest fire activity in Latvia and Estonia was related to conditions in the Atlantic; Teleconnections differed regionally; Negative correlation between number of fires in Estonia and SST in the North Atlantic was detected; Area of forest fires in Estonia and activity of fires in Latvia were positively correlated with SST in the Baltic, North and Mediterranean Seas in summer.

Forest fire is one of the natural disturbances, which have important ecological and socioeconomical effect. Although fire activity is driven by weather conditions, during past two centuries forest fires have been strongly anthropogenically controlled. In this study, teleconnection between sea surface temperature (SST) in the Atlantic, which influences climate in Europe, and forest fire activity in Latvia and Estonia was assessed using “Climate explorer” web-tool. Factors affecting number and area of forest fires in Latvia and Estonia differed, suggesting regional specifics. In Estonia, the number of fires correlated with the SST in the North Atlantic in spring and summer, which affects the inflow of cool and dry air masses from the Arctic, hence the aridity and burnability. The area of fires in Estonia and in Latvia was associated with increased SST in Baltic Sea and near the European coast in summer, which likely were consequences of occurrence of warm high-pressure systems in summer, causing hot and dry conditions. Nevertheless, the observed teleconnections could be used to predict activity of forest fires in Latvia and Estonia.

  • Kitenberga, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Rigas st. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: mara.kitenberga@gmail.com (email)
  • Matisons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Rigas st. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv
  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Rigas st. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Donis, Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Rigas st. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.donis@silava.lv
article id 1661, category Research note
Āris Jansons, Linda Robalte, Roberts Čakšs, Roberts Matisons. (2016). Long-term effect of whole tree biomass harvesting on ground cover vegetation in a dry Scots pine stand. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 5 article id 1661. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1661
Highlights: After 47 years, whole tree harvesting (WTH) increased richness of ground cover species compared to conventionally managed stands; Higher occurrence of the oligotrophic species after WTH suggested reduction of soil nutrient content, hence formation of different plant community; WTH, apparently, facilitated recovery of species typical for later successional stages.

Long-term (47 years) effect of experimental whole tree harvesting (WTH) with a heavy soil scarification on ground cover vegetation was assessed in a dry nutrient-poor Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand in Latvia. Neighbouring conventionally managed young (10 years) and mature (119 years) stands of the same type were used for comparison. Higher species richness was observed in the WTH stand compared to conventionally managed young and mature stands (24, 18 and 16 species, respectively), likely due to the profound disturbance. The Shannon diversity index was higher in the young than in the WTH and mature stands (2.36, 1.77 and 1.63, respectively); still, the composition and structure of ground cover vegetation in WTH was more similar to the mature stand. Nevertheless, the occurrence of oligotrophic species in the WTH stand suggested decreased soil nutrient content and potential development of different plant community. Hence, such method might be considered for restoration of oligotrophic stands. Nevertheless, the period of 47 years appeared sufficient for the ground cover vegetation to recover after the WTH.

  • Jansons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Robalte, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: robalte.l@gmail.com (email)
  • Čakšs, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: chakijs95@gmail.com
  • Matisons, Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, 111 Rigas Str., LV 2169, Salaspils, Latvia ORCID ID:E-mail: roberts.matisons@silava.lv
article id 1656, category Research note
Līga Puriņa, Roberts Matisons, Āris Jansons, Silva Šēnhofa. (2016). Survival of European beech in the central part of Latvia 33 years since the plantation. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 4 article id 1656. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1656
Highlights: Beech saplings growing in the central part of Latvia had ca. 80% survival during the recent three decades; The dimensions of saplings varied greatly likely due to canopy conditions; Some beech self-regeneration was observed; Mainly saplings had narrow crowns; The distribution of sapling dimensions had the reverse-J shape, suggesting successful development of beech.

The projections of vegetation zones suggest increasing growth potential of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) in Northern Europe. Such changes usually are most apparent in the marginal populations. In this study, survival of young beech growing in an experimental plantation under canopy of a mixed coniferous stand in the central part of Latvia was assessed after 33 years since the establishment. The planting material originated from an older experimental stand in the western part of Latvia. Although, at present, the studied plantation could be considered as the northeasternmost beech stand in Europe, a good survival was observed – ca. 80% of the seedlings have survived, despite several cold spells of ca. –30 °C that occurred during the recent three decades. Additionally, some self-regeneration i.e. branch sprouting was observed. The saplings were rather low, as their mean height was ca. 4 m. Still, some individuals, which were growing under canopy openings, reached considerable dimensions; their height and stem diameter exceeded 10 m and 9 cm, respectively. The distribution of sapling dimensions had the reverse-J shape that is typical for shade tolerant species, indicating normal development of the beech regrowth. The crowns of saplings were narrow and the stems were spindly, suggesting that trees with a good stem quality might be bred. Hence, our results suggest that environmental conditions in the central part of Latvia have been satisfactory for beech, thus encouraging establishment of more extensive trials within the region.

  • Puriņa, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: liga.purina@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Jansons, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Šēnhofa, LSFRI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: silva.senhofa@silava.lv
article id 1346, category Research note
Āris Jansons, Roberts Matisons, Oskars Krišāns, Baiba Džeriņa, Mārtiņš Zeps. (2016). Effect of initial fertilization on 34-year increment and wood properties of Norway spruce in Latvia. Silva Fennica vol. 50 no. 1 article id 1346. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1346
Highlights: The initial fertilization increased the productivity of Picea abies increasing stem volume by 17% at the age of 34 years; The tree-ring width was affected for up to15 years; The fertilization did not affect mean tree-ring density, although the latewood density was increased.

Initial fertilisation, when the fertilizer is supplied during the plantation, is applied to improve the competitive ability of the seedlings and hence to increase their growth and productivity; however, fertilization could also alter wood properties and timber quality. In this study, the dimensions and tree-ring parameters – width, proportion of latewood, maximum and mean density, mean earlywood and latewood density – of initially fertilized (by 14, 6 and 11 g of N, P and K per seedling, respectively) Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) growing in an experimental plantation in Kalsnava, Latvia (temperate climate region) were assessed. The fertilization significantly increased the dimensions of trees in long-term (ca. 17% increase of stemwood volume). The analysis of tree-ring width suggested that the duration of the effect was ca. 15 years. The maximum and latewood density were higher for the fertilized trees only in a few years. The mean and earlywood density of tree-rings were mainly similar for both treatments. Altogether, considering the one-time application of a limited amount of fertilizer, such treatment had notable and lasting effect on Norway spruce.

  • Jansons, LSRFI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSRFI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Krišāns, LSRFI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: oskars.krisans@silava.lv
  • Džeriņa, LSRFI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: baiba.dzerina@silava.lv
  • Zeps, LSRFI “Silava”, Rigas str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: martins.zeps@silava.lv
article id 1255, category Research note
Āris Jansons, Roberts Matisons, Līga Puriņa, Una Neimane, Jānis Jansons. (2015). Relationships between climatic variables and tree-ring width of European beech and European larch growing outside of their natural distribution area. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 1 article id 1255. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1255
Highlights: In western Latvia, variation of tree-ring width of European beech and European larch within stands was similar; Dry summers and cold winters caused common event years in tree-rings; Moisture availability at the end of summer was apparently the main limiting factor for tree-ring width; Winter and spring temperature did not have significant and lasting effect on variation of tree-ring width.
Relationships between climatic variables and tree-ring width (TRW) of dominant European larch (Larix decidua Mill.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) trees growing outside of their natural distribution area in western Latvia were studied. Chronologies of TRW, which covered the periods 1949–2012 and 1911–2012, were produced for beech and larch, respectively. Common signatures in TRW between both species were observed, but their amplitude differed. Correlation analysis showed that variation of TRW of both species was affected by drought related climatic variables. Tree-ring width of beech was affected by temperature in the previous July and August and the effect of spring and autumn temperature was observed. Since the 1980s, the effect of July precipitation has become significant. Summer precipitation was significant for larch in the mid-part of the previous century; however, temperature in the previous September has become a limiting factor since 1970s. The limiting effect of winter and spring temperature apparently lost its significance around the 1950s.
  • Jansons, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: aris.jansons@silava.lv
  • Matisons, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: robism@inbox.lv (email)
  • Puriņa, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: liga.purina@silava.lv
  • Neimane, LSFRI „SILAVA”, Rigas Str. 111, Salaspils, Latvia, LV2169 ORCID ID:E-mail: una.neimane@silava.lv
  • Jansons, Forest Competence Centre, Dzerbenes str. 27, Riga, Latvia, LV1006 ORCID ID:E-mail: janis.jansons@mnkc.lv

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