Current issue: 53(1)

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

Category: Research article

article id 1693, category Research article
Olalla Díaz-Yáñez, Blas Mola-Yudego, José Ramón González-Olabarria. (2017). What variables make a forest stand vulnerable to browsing damage occurrence? Silva Fennica vol. 51 no. 2 article id 1693. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1693
Highlights: Stands more vulnerable to browsing damage are young with lower densities and dominated by birch, pine or mixed species; Stand size could play a role on forest susceptibility to browsing occurrence.

Ungulate browsing results in important damages on the forests, affecting their structure, composition and development. In the present paper, we examine the occurrence of browsing damage in Norwegian forests, using data provided by the National Forest Inventory along several consecutive measurements (entailing the period 1995–2014). A portfolio of variables describing the stand, site and silvicultural treatments are analyzed using classification trees to retrieve combinations related to browsing damage. Our results indicate that the most vulnerable forest stands are young with densities below 1400 trees ha–1 and dominated by birch, pine or mixed species. In addition, stand diversity and previous treatments (e.g. thinnings) increase the damage occurrence and other variables, like stand size, could play a role on forest susceptibility to browsing occurrence although the latter is based on weaker evidence. The methods and results of our study can be applied to implement management measures aiming at reducing the browsing damages of forests.

  • Díaz-Yáñez, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3829-5759 E-mail: olalla.diaz@gmail.com (email)
  • Mola-Yudego, Norwegian Institute of Bioenergy Research, P.O. Box, 115, 1431 Ås, Norway; School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0286-0170 E-mail: blas.mola@uef.fi
  • González-Olabarria, Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC-CEMFOR), Ctra. de St. Llorenç de Morunys, km 2, 25280 Solsona, Spain ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5040-712X E-mail: jr.gonzalez@ctfc.es

Category: Review article

article id 550, category Review article
Lars Edenius, Margareta Bergman, Göran Ericsson, Kjell Danell. (2002). The role of moose as a disturbance factor in managed boreal forests. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 1 article id 550. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.550
We review the interactions between moose (Alces alces) and native tree species in Fennoscandia. The Fennoscandian boreal forests have been intensively managed for wood production over decades. Moose population density is also relatively high in these northern forests. Forest management affects habitat characteristics and food resources from regeneration to final harvest, with the most significant effects occurring early in the stand development. The plant-animal interactions found in such a situation may be different from what has been observed in natural boreal forests with low densities of moose (e.g. in North America). The strong focus on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in forest regeneration in conjunction with a homogenisation of the landscape structure by clear-cutting has favoured moose. Forest development is controlled by man from regeneration to final harvest, and in relation to human-induced disturbances the disturbance by moose is relatively small, but occurs on different spatial levels. At the landscape level, the most prominent effects of moose seem to be suppression and/or redistribution of preferred browse species. At the forest stand level moose primarily induce spatial heterogeneity by browsing patchily and exploiting existing gaps. At the tree level, moose damage trees and lower timber quality, but also create substrate types (e.g. dead and dying wood) valuable for many organisms. Co-management of moose and forest requires good monitoring programmes for both plants and animals, as well as extensive ecological knowledge on the relations between moose and their food plants on different spatial levels.
  • Edenius, SLU, Department of Animal Ecology, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail: lars.edenius@szooek.slu.se (email)
  • Bergman, SLU, Department of Animal Ecology, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Ericsson, SLU, Department of Animal Ecology, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Danell, SLU, Department of Animal Ecology, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Article

article id 5506, category Article
Risto Heikkilä, Sauli Härkönen. (1993). Moose (Alces alces L.) browsing in young Scots pine stands in relation to the characteristics of their winter habitats. Silva Fennica vol. 27 no. 2 article id 5506. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15667

Moose (Alces alces L.) browsing was studied in young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands mixed with deciduous trees in high-density winter ranges. The proportional use of twig biomass decreased as the availability increased. The total as well as proportional biomass consumption were higher on the moist than on the dry type of forest. The per tree consumption of pine was higher on the moist type, where the availability of pine was lower. Deciduous trees were more consumed on the moist type, where their availability was relatively high. The consumption of pine saplings increased as the availability of birch increased. Pine stem breakages were most numerous when birch occurred as overgrowth above pine and at high birch densities. The availability of other deciduous tree species did not correlate with browsing intensity of Scots pine. Moose browsing had seriously inhibited the development of Scots pines in 6% of the stands, over 60% of available biomass having been removed. Rowan and aspen were commonly over-browsed and their height growth was inhibited, which occurred rarely by birch. There was no difference in the proportion of young stands in forest areas with high and low moose density. A high proportion of peatland forests was found to indicate relatively good feeding habitats in the high-density areas.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Härkönen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5486, category Article
Kari Löyttyniemi, Risto Heikkilä, Seppo Repo. (1992). Pine tar in preventing moose browsing. Silva Fennica vol. 26 no. 3 article id 5486. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15647

The efficacy of pine tar as a moose (Alces alces L.) contact repellent was tested in young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands suffering from moose damage in Southern Finland during the winter 1981–82. Application of tar to shoots by spraying protected the trees satisfactorily throughout the winter.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Löyttyniemi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Repo, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5469, category Article
Risto Heikkilä, Kari Löyttyniemi. (1992). Growth response of young Scots pines to artificial shoot breaking simulating moose damage. Silva Fennica vol. 26 no. 1 article id 5469. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15627

The main stem of young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees was cut off halfway along the current leading shoot and the two previous years’ leading shoots to simulate moose (Alces alces) damage. Trees of the same size were chosen as controls before treatments. The experiment was inspected ten years after artificial stem breakage. Removing the current leading shoot and the second shoot did not essentially affect the height and diameter growth of the trees. Removal down to the third shoot reduced the height as well as diameter growth. The average loss in growth was equivalent to less than one year’s growth. When the stem was cut off at the second or third shoot, stem crookedness and the presence of knots resulted in stem defects that will subsequently reduce the sawtimber quality. A high proportion of the stem defects will obviously still be visible at the first thinning cutting. Removing injured trees as pulpwood and pruning the remaining parts of cut stems evidently improves the quality of pine stand with moose damage.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Löyttyniemi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5443, category Article
Raimo Silvennoinen, Rauno Hämäläinen, Kaarlo Nygrén, Kim von Weissenberg. (1991). Spectroradiometric characteristics of Scots pine and intensity of moose browsing. Silva Fennica vol. 25 no. 2 article id 5443. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15597

The light reflected from the crowns of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) clones was measured spectroradiometrically during and after growing season. Standard deviations of the spectra of pine clones showing differences in moose browsing intensity were compared. A new algorithm was developed for predicting the browsing intensity of moose (Alces alces).

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Silvennoinen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Hämäläinen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Nygrén, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Weissenberg, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5434, category Article
Risto Heikkilä. (1990). Effect of plantation characteristics on moose browsing on Scots pine. Silva Fennica vol. 24 no. 4 article id 5434. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15588

The effects of plantation characteristics on moose (Alces alces) browsing intensity was studied in 82 Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations in Southern Finland. Moose browsing occurred most commonly in plantations established on relatively fertile soil, and the degree of damage was at highest in plantations with openings. A high amount of brush, especially aspen, increased the risk of damage. Furthermore, damage was intensified in plantations situated on hills, slopes or at a long distance from main roads or settlements.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 7105, category Article
J. P. Norrlin. (1923). Übersicht der Moose und Flechten von Torneå- (Muonio-) und den angrenzenden Teilen von Kemi-Lappmark. Acta Forestalia Fennica vol. 23 no. 6 article id 7105. https://doi.org/10.14214/aff.7105
English title: Overview of moos and lichen in Tornio-Muonio and the bordering parts of Kemi-Lappmark in Finnish Lapland.

The article begins on the page 91/122 of the PDF file.

The data has been collected during summer 1867. It examines the moos and lichen species in for regions of Lapland: spruce region, pine region, birch region and fjeld region. The division of the regions is related to the climatic and biological conditions of areas, the first mentioned being the most southern and still suitable e.g. for many grasses. Respective regions have been presented with their general characters and list of species. Finally the findings of different regions are compared.   

  • Norrlin, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5252, category Article
Kari Löyttyniemi. (1985). On repeated browsing of Scots pine saplings by moose (Alces alces). Silva Fennica vol. 19 no. 4 article id 5252. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15431

The size, nutrient contents and terpene composition of needles of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) saplings untouched and repeatedly browsed by the moose (Alces alces L.) were compared. Material was collected from a 14-years old and 2.5 m high pine stand in Bromarv, Southern Finland. The average length and fresh and dry weight of the needles were measured, and nutrient content (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, B, Cu) was determined.

The needles of repeatedly browsed pines became long and robust. There was, however, no difference between the dry matter percentage between the needles. The average nitrogen content was higher in the rebrowsed trees. Nitrogen content is, however, not directly correlated with the palatability of pine needles. Even phosphorus and boron content were higher in the damaged trees. No difference was found in Ca, K, Mg and Cu contents of the browsed and control pine saplings.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Löyttyniemi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 5195, category Article
Matti Rousi. (1983). Susceptibility of pine to mammalian herbivores in northern Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 17 no. 4 article id 5195. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a15178

An inventory of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) graft collection in Kolari (67°15’ N, 23°45’ S) showed that severe damage by arctic hare (Lepus timidus L.), root and bank vole (Microtus oeconomus Pallas and M. agrestis L.) and moose (Alces alces L.) was done to grafts in size and in rather poor condition. Furthermore, the damage by arctic hare was dependent on the dry matter content of the needles. Another inventory in a fertilization experiment in a pine pole-stage forest showed that nitrogen fertilization increased the damage by arctic hare. On the basis of the present results, an assumption was made that the formation of repellent substances against herbivorous mammals is connected with wintering process of northern pines.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Rousi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4992, category Article
Kari Löyttyniemi, Raimo Hiltunen. (1978). Monoterpenes in Scots pine in relation to browsing preference by moose (Alces alces L.). Silva Fennica vol. 12 no. 2 article id 4992. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a14846

Monoterpene hydrocarbon contents of needles in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plants both damaged and untouched by the moose (Alces alces L.) were compared in the study. The material was collected in an 8-year-old plantation in Central Finland. Needle samples were taken from the topmost shoot whorl of the plants in the middle of April, 1976. Only minor differences were found between the plant groups. Thus, terpenes in pine presumably play no important role in the browsing preference by moose.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Löyttyniemi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Hiltunen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4992, category Article
Kari Löyttyniemi, Raimo Hiltunen. (1978). Monoterpenes in Scots pine in relation to browsing preference by moose (Alces alces L.). Silva Fennica vol. 12 no. 2 article id 4992. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a14846

Monoterpene hydrocarbon contents of needles in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plants both damaged and untouched by the moose (Alces alces L.) were compared in the study. The material was collected in an 8-year-old plantation in Central Finland. Needle samples were taken from the topmost shoot whorl of the plants in the middle of April, 1976. Only minor differences were found between the plant groups. Thus, terpenes in pine presumably play no important role in the browsing preference by moose.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Löyttyniemi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Hiltunen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4775, category Article
Erkki Pulliainen, Kalevi Loisa, Tauno Pohjalainen. (1968). Hirven talvisesta ravinnosta Itä-Lapissa. Silva Fennica vol. 2 no. 4 article id 4775. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a14560
English title: Winter food of the moose (Alces alces) in eastern Lapland.

The winter food of moose (Alces alces L.) was examined in 1967-68 in the Saariselkä fell area in the communes of Inari and Sodankylä, in the northern parts of the communes of Salla and Savukoski, and in the central part of the commune of Salla in eastern Lapland in Finland.

In northern parts of Salla and Savukoski 25 moose were followed during 3.-13.4.1968. This area is typical wintering terrain of moose in north-east Lapland. According to the estimate, 45% food taken by the moose was Scots pine shoots and needles, 28% birch, 17% juniper sprigs and needles, 9% willow, and 1.5% bear moss. According to observations of the researchers in 26.1.-16.5.1968, moose seemed to avoid birch, even if it was available in the area, and eat Scots pine shoots and needles and juniper.

Moose seemed to prefer willow in as a winter feed in the southern part of the area studied, where it accounts according to the present and earlier studies 50-90% of the winter food. In the northern wintering areas of moose, where willow is not as common, willow seemed to account for less than 10% of the winter food. There Scots pine is the most important winter food for moose.

The PDF includes a summary in English.

  • Pulliainen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Loisa, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Pohjalainen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 7677, category Article
Risto Heikkilä, Timo Mikkonen. (1992). Effects of density of young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) stand on moose (Alces alces) browsing. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 231 article id 7677. https://doi.org/10.14214/aff.7677

The study was carried out at Padasjoki, Southern Finland, where moose (Alces alces L.) density on the winter range had been over 1.5 individuals/km2. Moose browsing intensity, expressed in terms of number of twigs eaten and biomass used, increased with stand density (biomass). Total biomass consumption (dry weight) per sample plot and per sapling. The number of bites increased, but the percentage biomass removed did not differ when stand density increased. A relatively large bite size was observed on the plots of low stand density. The quantity of food, which on average was of relatively low quality, was obviously important due to the benefit gained through reducing the search time.

The nutritive value of the browse, expressed in terms of chemical compounds indicating low food digestibility, was lower in the dense than in the sparse Scots pine stand. However, the amount of crude protein and arginine were relatively high in the dense stand. We concluded that shading affected the nutritional status of saplings on high density plots.

Although the biomass removed by moose per sapling was high for low density plots, the remaining biomass was larger than that on the high-density plots owing to the relatively large twig biomass of saplings. The number of saplings per hectare without main stem breakage increased significantly as stand density increased.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Mikkonen, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 7670, category Article
Risto Heikkilä. (1991). Moose browsing in a Scots pine plantation mixed with deciduous tree species. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 224 article id 7670. https://doi.org/10.14214/aff.7670

The utilization of available food resources by the moose (Alces alces L.) was studied in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantation containing an admixture of deciduous species. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) and aspen (Populus tremula L.) were highly utilized compared to pine and both silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) and downy birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.). However, they were not capable of withstanding continuous browsing by moose owing to their diminished biomass. In total, the browsing intensity (number of browsed twigs/tree) on pine and birch was about double of that on rowan and aspen.

The number of browsed twigs per tree increased as the amount of available main branches increased. The number of bites per available branch, as well as the maximum diameter of the bites, decreased as the density of the plantation increased. Silver birch was more used by moose than pubescent birch as well as planted silver birch compared with naturally regenerated trees.

Main stem breakage was especially common in winter 1988, the average height of the pine and birch trees being over two meters. The tops of broken stems were commonly utilized as food. The increase in moose density and the relatively deep snow cover evidently promoted the incidence of serious damage. The number of undamaged trees/ha was greater in dense than in sparse parts of the stand.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Heikkilä, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 7659, category Article
Ari Lääperi. (1990). Hoidettujen talvilaitumien vaikutus hirvituhoihin mäntytaimikoissa. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 212 article id 7659. https://doi.org/10.14214/aff.7659
English title: Effect of winter feeding on moose damage to young Scots pine stands.

The establishment of moose (Alces alces L.) winter feeding sites, their utilization and their effect on damage to young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations was studied in Ruokolahti-Imatra area in Eastern Finland in 1987–89. During the period, the density in the area was about 3–5 moose/ 1,000 ha.

Six feeding sites were established by fertilization, offering mineral lics and the tops of aspen and Scot pine and by salting the tops of pine. The moose preferred the feeding site to control areas during both summer and winter. In winter browsing was very heavy, especially in those areas located in or close to traditional wintering areas. In winter no moose were seen in the summer habitats.

The extent of, and fluctuations in moose damage were studied in 47 Scots pine plantations in the immediate surroundings of the feeding sites (29 plantations), control areas (18 plantations) and also 68 randomly selected pine plantations. Before the experiment began in 1987 four plantations had been seriously damaged. During the study period only one plantation was seriously damaged. However, it could not be conclusively proved that damage to the pine plantations had been reduced as a result of the feeding sites. The results of the study can be put into practice elsewhere to create better living conditions for moose in their winter habitats. However, the food offered at the feeding site should be in the right proportion to the number of animals wintering in the area, so that the risk of damage to nearby plantations would be kept as small as possible.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Lääperi, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4695, category Article
Hirvivahinkokomitea. (1960). Hirvivahinkokomitean mietintö. Silva Fennica no. 106 article id 4695. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9134
English title: Report of committee on damage by moose.

The increase in moose (Alces alces) population of Finland in 2000th century has caused significant damages in agriculture and forestry. Amendment was made to the Game Law to compensate damage by moose to agricultural crops from state funds. It has been suggested already in 1936 that compensations should be paid for the damages caused to the forests as well. Finally, in 1956 the Government appointed a committee to study the quality and quantity of the damages caused by moose to the young stands. The committee carried out an inquiry about the extent of the damage in 1956–1957, in which 12,000 private forest holdings were studied.

According to the study, moose cause damage mainly to young Scots pine stands in Southwestern Finland and Western Finland, and the districts of Uusimaa-Häme, East Häme, South Karelia and East Savo. However, the number of forest holdings suffering from damage was relatively low, about 5.6% in the whole country in 1951–1956. The damage is concentrated on Scots pine-, aspen, and birch-dominated young stands. The study of the level of the damage showed, that only 14% of the pine and 17% of stands of other tree species should be reforested due to the damage.

The committee suggests that compensation is paid for those damages that require reforestation. Reforestation would be affected with the help of State relief funds under the provision of the Act on Forest Improvement. The owner would also receive a tax reduction for a lost growing season. In addition, attention to moose damages in the forests should be taken into account when moose hunting permissions are issued.

The PDF includes a summary in English.

  • Hirvivahinkokomitea, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4695, category Article
Hirvivahinkokomitea. (1960). Hirvivahinkokomitean mietintö. Silva Fennica no. 106 article id 4695. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9134
English title: Report of committee on damage by moose.

The increase in moose (Alces alces) population of Finland in 2000th century has caused significant damages in agriculture and forestry. Amendment was made to the Game Law to compensate damage by moose to agricultural crops from state funds. It has been suggested already in 1936 that compensations should be paid for the damages caused to the forests as well. Finally, in 1956 the Government appointed a committee to study the quality and quantity of the damages caused by moose to the young stands. The committee carried out an inquiry about the extent of the damage in 1956–1957, in which 12,000 private forest holdings were studied.

According to the study, moose cause damage mainly to young Scots pine stands in Southwestern Finland and Western Finland, and the districts of Uusimaa-Häme, East Häme, South Karelia and East Savo. However, the number of forest holdings suffering from damage was relatively low, about 5.6% in the whole country in 1951–1956. The damage is concentrated on Scots pine-, aspen, and birch-dominated young stands. The study of the level of the damage showed, that only 14% of the pine and 17% of stands of other tree species should be reforested due to the damage.

The committee suggests that compensation is paid for those damages that require reforestation. Reforestation would be affected with the help of State relief funds under the provision of the Act on Forest Improvement. The owner would also receive a tax reduction for a lost growing season. In addition, attention to moose damages in the forests should be taken into account when moose hunting permissions are issued.

The PDF includes a summary in English.

  • Hirvivahinkokomitea, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4695, category Article
Hirvivahinkokomitea. (1960). Hirvivahinkokomitean mietintö. Silva Fennica no. 106 article id 4695. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9134
English title: Report of committee on damage by moose.

The increase in moose (Alces alces) population of Finland in 2000th century has caused significant damages in agriculture and forestry. Amendment was made to the Game Law to compensate damage by moose to agricultural crops from state funds. It has been suggested already in 1936 that compensations should be paid for the damages caused to the forests as well. Finally, in 1956 the Government appointed a committee to study the quality and quantity of the damages caused by moose to the young stands. The committee carried out an inquiry about the extent of the damage in 1956–1957, in which 12,000 private forest holdings were studied.

According to the study, moose cause damage mainly to young Scots pine stands in Southwestern Finland and Western Finland, and the districts of Uusimaa-Häme, East Häme, South Karelia and East Savo. However, the number of forest holdings suffering from damage was relatively low, about 5.6% in the whole country in 1951–1956. The damage is concentrated on Scots pine-, aspen, and birch-dominated young stands. The study of the level of the damage showed, that only 14% of the pine and 17% of stands of other tree species should be reforested due to the damage.

The committee suggests that compensation is paid for those damages that require reforestation. Reforestation would be affected with the help of State relief funds under the provision of the Act on Forest Improvement. The owner would also receive a tax reduction for a lost growing season. In addition, attention to moose damages in the forests should be taken into account when moose hunting permissions are issued.

The PDF includes a summary in English.

  • Hirvivahinkokomitea, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4648, category Article
Paavo Yli-Vakkuri. (1955). Männyn kylvötaimistojen hirvivahingoista Pohjanmaalla. Silva Fennica no. 88 article id 4648. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9111
English title: Elk damage in seedling stands of Scots pine in Ostrobothnia.

The article reviews the occurrence of damage causes by elk (Alces alces L.) in young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands established by direct seeding in the Ostrobothia region in Finland. The data was collected by random sampling, and consists of 110 sample plots in pine stands, established in 1930-1944.

Signs of elk damages could be observed in 20% of the stands. In more than half of the damaged stands pine seedlings were damaged by elk, on the rest of the stands the damage was targeted to hardwood saplings only. With the present density of elk population, the damage has an insignificant bearing upon the development of pine seedling stands in Ostrobothnia. The weaknesses of silvicultural state of the stands have been caused by other factors than elk.

Silviculturally weak stands were more liable to elk damage than strong ones. The occurrence of elk damage was more usual in stands with hardwood mixture than in pure pine stands. Especially goat willow, mountain ash and aspen, but also to some decree birch, seem to attract elk. Those factors that promote hardwood growth: fertility of the site, swampiness and the presence of seeding hardwoods in the area, increase the stand’s liability to elk damage.

The article includes an abstract in English and a summary in Swedish.

  • Yli-Vakkuri, ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 4647, category Article
Pekka Sainio. (1955). Hirven talvisesta ravinnosta. Silva Fennica no. 88 article id 4647. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.a9109
English title: Winter nutrition of elk.

Increase in the elk (Alces alces L.) population and the problems of its grazing has called for detailed research. The present study concentrated on three observation areas representing northern, western and eastern parts of Finland. There were 28 field observers watching 68 elks.

Earlier investigations in Finland indicate that aspen (Populus tremula L.) is the staple diet of elk. This study reached different conclusions, probably largely because of aspen is gradually becoming an increasingly rare tree species in Finland. According to this study, the principal food of elk in the winter is willow (Salix sp.). In the whole country, willow accounts for about 70% of elk’s nutrition. In the Far North the percentage is approx. 90. Of the other tree species, the order of preference is: aspen, Scots pine, mountain ash, juniper and birch. In addition, in Western Finland where snow is less deep, lingonberry and blueberry shrubs are on the menu. Beard moss on the spruce was frequently eaten locally. Elk seems to have eaten mainly the last annual shoot of trees and bushes. In few cases it has gnawed the bark of Scots pine, aspen and willow. Elk consumes in average 340 twigs or terminal shoots per day in the winter. This corresponds to about 1.8 kg of food.

The problem of elks damaging Scots pine seedlings has been observed in Western Finland, were the elk population is higher. The article suggests that suitable feeding places would be left for elk in places that are unsuitable for agriculture or forestry. Leaving, for instance, birch seedlings in Scots pine stands has been noticed to attract elks and to increase the damage to pine.

The article includes an abstract in English and a summary in Swedish.

  • Sainio, ORCID ID:E-mail:

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