Current issue: 54(5)
Under compilation: 55(1)
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) is a deciduous tree species suitable for producing large amounts of renewable biomass during short rotations. Its potential under North European conditions could be largely extended if not only agricultural land but also forest land was used for cultivation. Unfortunately, the knowledge of appropriate forest site conditions and effects of site preparation methods on hybrid aspen establishment is limited. In this paper, two studies that explore these questions are presented. In the first study, the sensitivity to acid soils was tested under greenhouse conditions in two type of soils: a) peat soil limed to certain pH levels (3.4–5.7) and b) collected forest soils where pH varied from 3.9 to 5.3. The lowest pH level resulted in reduced growth, elsewhere no significant differences were found. The second study was applied in the field and investigated the effect of four site preparation methods on survival and growth. The methods were: 1) control with no site preparation, 2) patch scarification, 3) mounding and 4) soil inversion. While no differences were found for survival, mounding was generally the method with the highest growth and patch scarification was least successful. The result was probably an effect of good soil aeration and less competition from vegetation after mounding. The field study also revealed clonal differences in growth performance, which stresses the importance of clone selection prior to planting. The results of these studies indicate that hybrid aspen is less sensitive to variation in pH and site preparation methods compared with other poplar species, as have been found in similar studies.
The pine weevil Hylobius abietis L. is an economically important pest insect that kills high proportions of conifer seedlings in reforestation areas. It is present in conifer forests all over Europe but weevil abundance and risk for damage varies considerably between areas. This study aimed to obtain a useful model for predicting damage risks by analyzing survey data from 292 regular forest plantations in northern Sweden. A model of pine weevil attack was constructed using various site characteristics, including both climatic factors and factors related to forest management activities. The optimal model was rather imprecise but showed that the risk of pine weevil attack can be predicted approximatively with three principal variables: 1) the proportion of seedlings expected to be planted in mineral soil rather than soil covered with duff and debris, 2) age of clear-cut at the time of planting, and 3) calculated temperature sum at the location. The model was constructed using long-run average temperature sums for epoch 2010, and so effects of climate change can be inferred from the model by adjustment to future epochs. Increased damage risks with a warmer climate are strongly indicated by the model. Effects of a warmer climate on the geographical distribution and abundance of the pine weevil are also discussed. The new tool to better estimate the risk of damage should provide a basis for foresters in their choice of countermeasures against pine weevil damage in northern Europe.
In the Nordic countries Finland, Norway and Sweden, the most common regeneration method is planting after clearcutting and, often, mechanical site preparation (MSP). The main focus of this study is to review quantitative effects that have been reported for the five main MSP methods in terms of survival and growth of manually planted coniferous seedlings of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) in clearcuts in these three countries. Meta analyses are used to compare the effects of MSP methods to control areas where there was no MSP and identify any relationships with temperature sum and number of years after planting. In addition, the area of disturbed soil surface and the emergence of naturally regenerated seedlings are evaluated. The MSP methods considered are patch scarification, disc trenching, mounding, soil inversion and ploughing. Studies performed at sites with predominately mineral soils (with an organic topsoil no thicker than 0.30 m), in boreal, nemo-boreal and nemoral vegetation zones in the three Fenno-Scandinavian countries are included in the review. Data from 26 experimental and five survey studies in total were compiled and evaluated. The results show that survival rates of planted conifers at sites where seedlings are not strongly affected by pine weevil (Hylobius abietis L.) are generally 80–90% after MSP, and 15–20 percent units higher than after planting in non-prepared sites. The experimental data indicated that soil inversion and potentially ploughing (few studies) give marginally greater rates than the other methods in this respect. The effects of MSP on survival seem to be independent of the temperature sum. Below 800 degree days, however, the reported survival rates are more variable. MSP generally results in trees 10–25% taller 10–15 years after planting compared to no MSP. The strength of the growth effect appears to be inversely related to the temperature sum. The compiled data may assist in the design, evaluation and comparison of possible regeneration chains, i.e. analyses of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of multiple combinations of reforestation measures.