Current issue: 54(4)

Under compilation: 54(5)

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Silva Fennica 1926-1997
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Acta Forestalia Fennica
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Articles containing the keyword 'fire disturbance'.

Category: Research article

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 556, category Research article
Timo Kuuluvainen, Juha Mäki, Leena Karjalainen, Hannu Lehtonen. (2002). Tree age distributions in old-growth forest sites in Vienansalo wilderness, eastern Fennoscandia. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 1 article id 556. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.556
The age and size of trees was sampled and measured on eight sample plots (0.2 ha each) within a Pinus sylvestris -dominated boreal forest landscape in Vienansalo wilderness, Russian Karelia. The fire history of these plots was obtained from a previous dendrochronological study. All the studied sample plots showed a wide and uneven distribution of tree ages, but the shape of the age distributions of trees as well as tree species composition varied substantially. Trees over 250 years of age occurred in every studied plot, despite its small size. This suggests that old Pinus were common and rather evenly distributed in the landscape matrix. The oldest Pinus tree was 525 years of age. The correlations between tree age and size were often weak or even nil. In Pinus the correlation between age and diameter was stronger than that between age and height. In the dominant tree species Pinus and Picea, the largest trees were not the oldest trees. The tree age distributions together with the fire history data indicated that the past fires have not been stand replacing, as many of the older Pinus had survived even several fires. Tree age classes that had regenerated after the last fire were most abundant and dominated by Picea and/or deciduous trees, while the trees established before the last fire were almost exclusively Pinus. The results suggest that periodic occurrence of fire is important for the maintenance of the Pinus-dominated landscape. This is because fire kills most Picea and deciduous trees and at the same time enhances conditions for Pinus regeneration, facilitated by available seed from the continuous presence of old fire-tolerant Pinus trees.
  • Kuuluvainen, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: timo.kuuluvainen@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Mäki, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Karjalainen, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Lehtonen, Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, P.O. Box 24, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

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