Current issue: 56(1)
Under compilation: 56(2)
Fire is a common disturbance in boreal forests causing changes in biological diversity at various spatial scales. In the past 100 years, forest management has limited fire outbreaks, but in the future, the fire-affected forest area is expected to increase in many regions due to climate change. Burned forests are typically salvage-logged, but the effect of this type of management versus natural regeneration on biological diversity is not well understood, particularly the mid-term effect to tree establishment and understory vegetation composition and diversity. Various management methods were used after a large fire in 1992 in a peatland-forest complex and neighbouring managed forests, which created an experimental setup for study of the effect of management after fire in the Sliteres National park, northwestern Latvia. Understory vegetation was described in plots using a design of four forest and three management types: natural regeneration (unmanaged) and managed sites with salvage logging followed by no further human intervention and salvage logging with planting. Post-fire management had different effect in each forest type. Species richness was higher in forest types with salvage logging than in natural regenerated sites on rich wet and rich dry forest types, but not for the poor forest types. Tree regeneration was generally greater in salvage-logged stands, but differed between forest types. Species composition was related to tree regeneration and canopy openness. In contrast to other studies, salvage logging had a positive mid-term effect to ground vegetation diversity and tree establishment in the studied stands, implying potential for concomitant management and conservation of ground cover vegetation in semi-natural stands.
Accurate mapping of the spatial distribution of understory species from spectral images requires ground reference data which represent the prevailing phenological stage at the time of image acquisition. We measured the spectral bidirectional reflectance factors (BRFs, 350–2500 nm) at varying view angles for lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) and blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) throughout the growing season of 2017 using Finnish Geospatial Research Institute’s FIGIFIGO field goniometer. Additionally, we measured spectra of leaves and berries of both species, and flowers of lingonberry. Both lingonberry and blueberry showed seasonality in visible and near-infrared spectral regions which was linked to occurrences of leaf growth, flowering, berrying, and leaf senescence. The seasonality of spectra differed between species due to different phenologies (evergreen vs. deciduous). Vegetation indices, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), moisture stress index (MSI), plant senescence reflectance index (PSRI), and red-edge inflection point (REIP2), showed characteristic seasonal trends. NDVI and PSRI were sensitive to the presence of flowers and berries of lingonberry, while with blueberry the effects were less evident. Off-nadir observations supported differentiating the dwarf shrub species from each other but showed little improvement for detection of flowers and berries. Lingonberry and blueberry can be identified by their spectral signatures if ground reference data are available over the entire growing season. The spectral data measured in this study are reposited in the publicly open SPECCHIO Spectral Information System.