Current issue: 55(2)
The aim of this study was to develop individual-tree diameter and height growth models for Scots pine, Norway spruce, and pubescent birch growing in drained peatlands in Finland. Trees growing in peatland sites have growth patterns that deviate from that of trees growing in mineral soil sites. Five-year growth was explained by tree diameter, different tree and stand level competition measures, management operations and site characteristics. The drainage status of the site was influencing growth directly or in interaction with other variables. Site quality had a direct impact but was also commonly related to current site drainage status (need for ditch maintenance). Recent thinning increased growth of all species and former PK fertilization increased growth of pine and birch. Temperature sum was a significant predictor in all models and altitude for spruce and birch. The data were a subsample of the 7th National Forest Inventory (NFI) sample plots representing northern and southern Finland and followed by repeated measurements for 15–20 yrs. Growth levels predicted by the models were calibrated using NFI11 data to remove bias originating from the sample of the modelling data. The mixed linear models technique was used in model estimation. The models will be incorporated into the MOTTI stand simulator to replace the current peatlands growth models.
Phenology can have a profound effect on growth and climatic adaptability of long-lived, northern tree species such as Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), where the onset of growth in the spring is triggered mainly by accumulated heat, while cessation of growth is related to the joint effect of photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the objectives were: (1) to compare shoot phenology of genetic material from Scandinavia (maritime climate origin) and northern Russia (continental climate origin) sources, under field conditions in both Scandinavia and Russia (maritime and continental growth conditions); and (2) to estimate the heritabilities of phenological parameters. The material used was part of a larger provenance test series involving Scots pine populations and open-pollinated plus-tree families from Russia, Sweden and Finland. Terminal shoot elongation was measured on multiple occasions during the seventh growing season from seed at a trial near Bäcksjön (Sweden) and Syktyvkar (northern Russia). We calculated the regression of relative shoot elongation over accumulated heat sum above +5 °C using an exponential expression. Seedlings of Swedish and Russian provenance had similar heat-sum requirements for growth onset and cessation in both trials. More northern provenances started onset and cessation at a lower temperature sum, but heat accumulation requirements for onset were not fixed. Scots pine may suffer from spring frost due to earlier growth onset in a warming climate. Variation and heritability of phenological traits show potential to adapt Scots pine to new climate conditions by breeding.
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.
Yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium Bunge) has been widely planted for biodiesel production in China, but has frequently shown poor field performance. Container-grown yellowhorn seedlings originating from three Chinese provenances, Wengniute Qi (WQ), Alukeerqin Qi (AQ), and Shanxian (SX), were fertilized with slow-release fertilizer (SRF) at 40, 80, 120, 160 or 200 mg N seedling–1. Tree growth, survival and nutrient content were measured after one year’s growth in a greenhouse followed by two years in a field site. Plants from AQ and SX tended to have higher stem and root P contents in the nursery. Higher rates of SRF increased root N, and stem and root P contents. After one year in the nursery, there were a number of interactions between provenance and SRF for plant growth responses and nutrient content in the nursery, however after two years of additional growth in the field, plants from the different provenances generally responded similarly to applied SRF in the nursery, with few interactions. Final plant height was approximately 10% lower in trees from provenance SX but was not affected by application of SRF. Conversely, final trunk diameter and stem and root biomass were unaffected by provenance but increased with higher rates of applied SRF. Our results indicate that application of SRF may be a useful tool to nutrient load yellowhorn in the nursery and facilitate transplanting performance in the field. Overall, optimal nursery and field performance of yellowhorn were observed in provenance AQ at 120–200 mg N seedling–1 SRF. We suggest that growers consider a wider range of yellowhorn provenances and SRF rates (above 200 mg N seedling–1) to yield even better growth response.
Herb-rich forests are often considered biodiversity hotspots in the boreal zone but their fungal assemblages, particularly those of wood-decaying fungi, remain poorly known. We studied herb-rich forests as habitats for polypores, a distinct group of wood-decaying fungi, and assessed the importance of tree- and stand-scale variables for polypore species richness, abundance, and diversity, including red-listed species. The data include 71 herb-rich forest stands in Finland and 4797 dead wood items, on which we made 2832 observations of 101 polypore species. Dead-wood diversity was the most important variable explaining polypore species richness and diversity, whereas increasing latitude had a negative effect. Red-listed species showed a positive response to the abundance of large-diameter dead wood, which, especially birch, supported also high general abundance of polypores. The composition of polypore assemblages reflected their host-tree species. The red-listed species did not show explicit patterns in the ordination space. Compared to old-growth spruce forests, herb-rich forests seem to host lower polypore species richness and less red-listed species. However, because of high proportion of deciduous trees in the dead wood profile, herb-rich forests have a clear complementary effect on polypore assemblages in boreal forest landscapes.
Riparian trees, especially relict trees, are attractive and important for research to understand both past and recent biogeographical and evolutionary processes. Our work is the first study to elucidate the genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure of the canopy-dominating riparian Pterocarya fraxinifolia (Juglandaceae) along two altitudinal gradients in different river systems of the Hyrcanian forest, which is one of the most important refugium of relict trees in Western Eurasia. Altitudinal gradients were chosen along two river systems at 100, 400 and 900 m a.s.l. Leaf samples were collected from 116 trees, and the genetic diversity was evaluated with eight SSR markers. Overall, 39 alleles were identified for all of the populations studied. The observed heterozygosity (Ho) varied from 0.79 to 0.87 (with a mean of 0.83). The results of the AMOVA analysis indicated that the variation within populations was 88%, whereas the variation among populations was 12% for all of the gradients. A structure analysis indicated that 93% of the trees were grouped in the same gradient. The genetic distance based on Fst confirmed the structure result and indicated a high rate of gene flow among the investigated populations. Based on high gene flow (low differentiation of the population along the same river) and the clearly distinct genetic structure of the investigated gradients, it can be concluded that rivers are the main seed dispersal vector among P. fraxinifolia populations. The genetic diversity of P. fraxinifolia did not show any trend from upstream to downstream. The high level of gene flow and uniform genetic diversity along each river suggest the “classical” metapopulation structure of the species.
The paper deals with production of above-ground biomass of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) stands in the Czech Republic. One-year biomass dynamics was studied within chronosequence of birch stands at the age of 4–5, 8–9, 17–18 and 22–23 years. With the exception of the youngest stand, which was established by seeding, all experimental birch stands were regenerated naturally after the allochthonous spruce stands. Above-ground biomass (AB) was calculated from plot inventory data and biomass equations were parameterized from destructive sampling of biomass component of sampled trees. Results reveal that the peak of the mean annual increment (MAIABtotal) of birch stands can be expected at the age from 15 to 20 years. Additionally, the stand age, the value of basal area (BA) should be considered as a predictor of stand productivity. If the value of BA varied from 25 to 35 m2 ha–1, the MAI of the birch stands reached the range from 5.0 to 6.5 t of dry biomass per ha y–1 at the age ranging between 15 and 25 years. The stem/branch proportion increased with stand age, the stem relative proportion ranging from 75 to 90% of total above-ground biomass. According to the results of this study, birch stand biomass production and utilization is one of the approaches in terms of forest recovery management in large disturbed areas. Although, no silvicultural treatments were occurred in all analysed stands, the pre-commercial thinning method could increase stand productivity and stability as well.
According to the Swedish Timber Measurement Act, measurements affecting payments for wood fuels to landowners must be accurate and precise. In this regard, moisture content is an important quality parameter for wood chips which influences the net calorific value as received and thus the economic value. As standard practice moisture content is determined with the oven-drying method, which is cumbersome to use for deliveries to facilities without drying-ovens, which in turn necessitates that samples are taken elsewhere for measurement. An alternative solution is to use a portable moisture meter. Our aim was to evaluate the precision of a handheld capacitance moisture meter. Accuracy and precision of a capacitance meter was determined in the lab and a calibration function was made. Thereafter, the calibrated moisture meter was compared with the standard method for moisture content determination of truckloads of chips. The capacitance meter showed a moderate accuracy by underestimating moisture content by 6.0 percentage points (pp), compared to the reference method, at a precision of ±3.8 pp (CI 95%). For chips with M > 50%, both accuracy and precision decreased. Calibration increased the accuracy in the follow up study by 3 pp for chips with M < 50% but could not be made for wetter chips. The oven-drying method and the capacitance meter can provide equally accurate estimates of mean moisture content for chips with M < 50% if a larger sample is taken with the latter. It should be possible to use capacitance meters to measure moisture content even when used to calculate payments depending of the needed accuracy. A calibration function for each assortment is needed.
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.