Current issue: 56(4)
The colonisation of a burned clear-cut by ants in southern Finland was monitored using pitfall traps, artificial nest sites, and direct nest sampling from the ground and stumps. Clearcutting and fire seemed to have destroyed wood-ant colonies (Formica rufa group), and also other mature-forest species suffered from fire. Myrmica ruginodis Nylander was able to survive only in less severely burned moist sites, whereas it benefitted from the enhanced light conditions in a non-burned clear-cut. The fire resulted in an essentially ant-free terrain into which pioneering species immigrated. The mortality of nest-founding queens appeared to be high. The results supported the hypothesis that the pioneering species tend to be those that are capable of independent colony founding, followed by species founding nests through temporary nest parasitism. The succession of the burned clear-cut differed from that of the non-burned one, suggesting that habitat selection in immigration and priority effects, i.e. competition, introduce deterministic components in the successional pathways of boreal ant communities.
The prefire fungal flora (polypores and corticoid fungi) of 284 dead trees, mainly fallen trunks of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), was studied in 1991 in an old, spruce-dominated mesic forest in Southern Finland. Species diversity of the prefire fungal flora was very high, including a high proportion of locally rare species and four threatened polypore species in Finland.
In 1992 part of the study area (7.3 ha) was clear-cut and a 1.7 ha forest stand in the centre of study area was left standing with a tree volume of 150 m3/ha, and later on (June 1st) in the same year the whole area was burned. Burning was very efficient and all trees in the forest stand were dead one year after the fire. Also, the ground layer burned almost completely.
In 1993 the fungal flora of the 284 sample trees was studied again. Most of the trees had burned strongly and the fungal species diversity and the evenness in community structure had decreased considerably as compared with the prefire community. Species turnover was also great, especially in corticoid fungi. Greatest losses in the species numbers occurred in moderately and strongly decayed trees, in coniferous trees and in very strongly burned trees. Fungal flora of non-decayed and slightly decayed trees, deciduous trees and slightly burned trees seemed to have survived the fire quite well, and in these groups the species numbers had increased slightly as compared with the prefire community.
Fungal species suffering from fire (anthracophobe species) were mainly growing in moderately and strongly decayed trees before the fire, whereas species favoured by fire (anthracophile species) were growing in less decayed trees. No fruitbodies of threatened polypores or other "old-forest species" of polypores were found again after fire. Some very common and effective wood-rotting fungi (e.g. Fomitopsis pinicola, Fomes fomentarius, Antrodia serialis) survived the fire quite well (anthracoxene species). Species favoured by fire were mainly ruderal species which can utilize new, competition-free resources created by fire, and species that have their optima in dry and open places also outside forest-fire areas. Some rarities, e.g. Phanerochaete raduloides and Physisporinus rivulosus, were favoured by fire.
Nearly every forest land in Finland has been burnt down by a wildfire at least once during the past 400–500 years. Slash and burn cultivation (1700–1920) was practised on 50–75 percent of Finland's forests, while prescribed burning (1920–1990) has been applied to 2–3 percent of the country's forests. Because of land-use changes and efficient fire prevention and control systems, the occurrence of wildfires in Finland has decreased considerably during the past few decades. Owing to the biodiversity and ecologically favourable influence of fire, the current tendency is to revive the use of controlled fire in forestry in Finland. Prescribed burning is used in forest regeneration and endeavours are being made to revert old conservation forests to the starting point of succession through forest fires.
The survival of forest tree species in wildfires was examined on two burned stands. Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) and birches (Betula spp.) proved to be sensitive to the effects of wildfire; almost all individuals of these tree species were killed by the fires. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was more tolerable to the effects of wildfire; i.e. one out of five Scots pines survived. Fire tolerance increased as tree size increased.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
The study is the first report of a larger project concerning fire ecology in the Finnish boreal forests. Modern forestry has never been practiced in the Ulvinsalo strict nature reserve (2,500 ha) in Northern Finland in the county of Kuhmo. Forest fires have been uncommon because of mosaic of mineral and peat soils. The forests are mostly Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) dominated with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) often as the oldest trees of a stand. Forest fires were dated by counting annual rings from cambium to the fire scar in pines. 73 stands covering 1,207 ha were surveyed, over 80% of which was on mineral soil.
50% of the area had burned at least once during the life time of the present pine trees. 48 different forest fires were found, the first being from the year 1712 and the latest from 1969. The average time elapsed between the fires was about 82±43 years, and range 18–219 years. It was assumed that the stands where no fire scars were found, had, however, regenerated after fires but no fires have occurred since after that. In latter part of the 19th century 21 forest fires were dated, in the other half centuries only 4–9. This may have been caused by the increased human activity in the late 1800’s. The fire rotation of the area is 280 years, and spruce is almost the only tree species, which can regenerate in the present situation.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
The statistics of forest fires in Finland expanded in 1952 to include uninsured forests, when previously the statistics included only fires in state forests and insured forest holdings. For private forests the material is collected by central forestry associations with the aid of district forestry boards, and for state forests by the Forest Service which also prepares the overall statistics on forest fires in the country. Forest fire statistics for 1952 and 1953 have been prepared on the basis of regional grouping by counties.
In 1952 a total of 299 forest fires were discovered, affecting a burnt area of 764 ha. Of these 20 were in state forests, burning 139 ha, and 279 in private forests, burning 625 ha. The average devastated area was 2.6 ha (in state forests 6.9 ha). This year was the easiest from the point of view of forest fires in the period between 1946-1953. The year 1953, on the other hand, was the worst of the period. The number of fires was only 216, but the burnt area was 8,955 ha. In state forests 87 fires devastated 8,624 ha. In private forests 129 fires burned 331 ha. The average area destroyed was 4.2 ha (in state forests 99.1 ha, and in private forests 2.6 ha). The largest fires on state forests were in the northernmost districts of the country.
The Silva Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari‘s 60th birthday.
The effects of modern forestry on northwest European forest invertebrates are summarized and analysed mainly on the basis of published literature. The direct influence of different practices including clear-cutting, thinning, burning-over, ploughing, changes in tree species composition of stands, fertilization, insecticides, pheromones and biological control are discussed from a forest zoological point of view. Also, the indirect effects of general changes in boreal forest dynamics, loss of primeval forests, cessation of natural fires and the dominance of young stands are described. The direct effects of different silvicultural practices on the species composition and diversity of forest invertebrates are usually considered to be striking but transient. However, when large areas are treated, the species associated with primeval forests, especially with the wood composition system in them, as well as the species associated with fires, seem to have drastically declined. In northwest Europe, efficient forestry has not caused such serious pest problems as is known from tropical countries or North America.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
The aim of the present work was to clarify the structure of selected natural Pinus kesiya Royale ex Gord. And P. merkusii Jungh. et de Vriese stands, with particular attention on the amount and quality of naturally-occurring seedlings and young trees. Furthermore, basic information required in the management of pine stands in watershed areas of northern Thailand was obtained.
Large number of pine seedlings were found in P. kesiyana stands only. Two of the examined four localities where this species occurred also included various intermediary height classes under the mature trees. In dense stands the number of seedlings was generally smaller as compared with lower seed tree densities. Neither one of the two localities where P. Merkusii was investigated indicated sufficient natural regeneration. Young pines (over 5 m height) seemed to survive the frequent ground fires quite well, whereas younger seedlings were destroyed and the ground layer vigour was lowered in these cases.
In situ sowing experiments at the beginning of the dry season indicated a faster development and better survival of emerging P. Kesiya seedlings as compared to P. Merkusii. Soil preparation and exposure to sun decreased the survival of seedlings in both species. Utilization of natural regeneration and direct sowing of pines as a silvicultural method as well as the general significance of the two pine species in the succession of plant communities under the influence of forest fires is also discussed.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.