Current issue: 57(1)
We describe the methodology applied in the 12th national forest inventory of Finland (NFI12) and describe the state of Finland’s forests as well as the development of some key parameters since 1920s. According to the NFI12, the area of forestry land (consisting of productive and poorly productive forest, unproductive land, and other forestry land) is 26.2 M ha. The area of forestry land has decreased from 1920s to 1960s due to expansion of agriculture and built-up land. 20% of the forestry land is not available for wood supply and 13% is only partly available for wood supply. The area of peatlands is 8.8 M ha, which is one third of the forestry land. 53% of the current area of peatlands is drained. The volume of growing stock, 2500 M m3, is 1.7 times the volume estimated in NFI1 in the 1920s for the current territory of Finland. The estimated annual volume increment is 107.8 M m3. The increment estimate has doubled since the estimate of NFI2 implemented in late 1930s. The annual mortality is estimated to 7 M m3, which is 0.5 M m3 more than according to the previous inventory. Serious or complete damage was observed on 2% of the productive forest available for wood supply. The amount of dead wood is on average 5.8 m3 ha–1 in productive forests. Since the NFI9 (1996–2003) the amount of dead wood has increased in South Finland and decreased in North Finland both in protected forests and forests available for wood supply (FAWS). The area of natural or almost natural forests on productive forest is 380 000 ha, out of this, 42 000 ha are in FAWS and 340 000 ha in protected forests.
Hybrid aspen (Populus tremula L. × P. tremuloides Michx.) is known with outstanding growth rate and some favourable wood characteristics, but models for stand management have not yet been prepared in northern Europe. This study introduces methods and models to predict tree dimensions, diameter at breast height (dbh) and tree height for a hybrid aspen plantation using data from repeatedly measured permanent sample plots established in clonal plantations in southern Finland. Dbh distributions using parameter recovery method for the Weibull function was used with Näslund’s height curve to model tree heights. According to the goodness-of-fit statistics of Kolmogorov-Smirnov and the Error Index, the arithmetic mean diameter (D) and basal area-weighted mean diameter (DG) provided more stable parameter recovery for the Weibull distribution than the median diameter (DM) and basal area-weighted median diameter (DGM), while DG showed the best overall fit. Thus, Näslund’s height curve was modelled using DG with Lorey’s height (HG), age, basal area (BA), and tree dbh (Model 1). Also, Model 2 was tested using all predictors of Model 1 with the number of trees per ha (TPH). All predictors were shown to be significant in both Models, showing slightly different behaviour. Model 1 was sensitive to the mean characteristics, DG and HG, while Model 2 was sensitive to stand density, including both BA and TPH as predictors. Model 1 was considered more reasonable to apply based on our results. Consequently, the parameter recovery method using DG and Näslund’s models were applicable for predicting tree diameter and height.
Evaluation of product attributes and the overall quality significantly affect consumer purchasing decisions. Previous studies on wooden products have mostly addressed wood product quality from technical viewpoints, while largely disregarding environmental, social, and economic aspects in the assessments. Therefore, knowledge on how sustainability aspects are evaluated as a feature of wood product quality is narrow. This study investigated consumer perceptions of different quality indicators (i.e., quality cues and attributes) of wooden interior products with a special focus on sustainability and value chain phases. In addition, the connections between consumers’ sociodemographic background and their perceptions of the quality features of wooden interior products were evaluated. The material of the study was based on data gathered in 2018 with a postal survey sent to 1000 people living in Finland with a response rate of 25.6%. As methods of analysis, exploratory factor analysis, the Mann-Whitney U test, and the Kruskall-Wallis test were utilized. The results show that the quality indicators of wooden interior products can be grouped into four factors relating to products’ environmental friendliness, fit with lifestyle and home design, visual and tactile attractiveness, and technical solidity, which are in multiple ways connected with sustainability. The sociodemographic background of the respondents was found to be linked with consumer scores for those factors. Engaging consumers in sustainable consumption choices requires providing them with information on wooden product value chains that meets their individual needs in relation to their existing knowledge of those issues and individual values.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) and lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea L.) can be a part of healthy diet and are important for many animals. Two approaches are described to assessing their vegetation cover and berry yield via national forest inventory (NFI) observations. The aim was to provide estimates and predictions of the abundance and yield of the species at regional and national levels in Finland and Sweden. In Finland, the model-based predictions are used in evaluating the impacts of cutting intensity on forest berries needed in forest-related decision making. In Sweden, seasonal inventory-based estimates are used to evaluate the annual national and regional berry yields, and in a forecasting system aimed at large public and berry enterprises. Based on the NFI sample plots measured between 2014 and 2018, the total annual yields are estimated to be 208 Mkg of bilberry and 246 Mkg of lingonberry on productive forest land (increment at least 1 m3 ha–1 year–1) in Finland, and 336 and 382 Mkg respectively in Sweden (average of NFI inventories in 2015–2019). The predicted development of berry yields is related to the intensity of cuttings in alternative forest management scenarios: lower removals favoured bilberry, and higher removals lingonberry. The model-based method describes the effects of stand development and management on berry yields, whereas the inventory-based method can calibrate seasonal estimates through field observations. In providing spatially and timely more accurate information concerning seasonal berry yields, an assessment of berry yields should involve the elements of both inventory-based and model-based approaches described in this study.
Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus is a serious cone pathogen that reduces seed crop of Picea abies (L.) Karst. and other Picea spp. Natural sporulation of T. areolata was investigated in nine Norway spruce seed orchards suffering from severe successive T. areolata epidemics in Finland. Habitats occupied by Vaccinium myrtillus L., V. vitis-idaea L., Empetrum nigrum L. and Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull, and a number of other wild species belonging to ground flora were investigated for Thekopsora areolata uredinia 9–10 times in May–September 2018–2019. Occurrence of Thekopsora uredinia was estimated in current-year leaves of the plants in ca. 25 sample plots of 1 m2 in each seed orchard. A sample of plant leaves with rust uredinia or necrotic pustules were collected from each plot. No rust fruiting stages of T. areolata were found on any of the test species of ground flora. However, rust uredinia were observed regularly on leaves of V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea in all seed orchards between mid-July and the end of September. Rust sporulation started on V. myrtillus in July and on V. vitis-idaea in August. Based on symptoms, uredinia and spore morphology, the rust on both V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea was identified as blueberry rust, Naohidemyces vaccinii (Jørst.) S. Sato, Katsuya & Y. Hirats. ex Vanderwegen & Fraiture. The uredinial stage of the rust on Vaccinium spp. were described. No evidence of natural sporulation of T. areolata on wild plant species other than Prunus was observed in Finnish Norway spruce seed orchards.
Our main objective was to determine whether various genetically improved reproductive materials of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) differ in growth rhythm, autumn cold acclimation and resilience from unimproved materials. The study consisted of two successive indoor experiments with Scots pine seedlings representing four levels of genetic gain (unimproved natural stands, first-generation seed orchards, 1.5-generation seed orchards and seed orchards established with freezing-tested parents) and a wide range of geographical origins within Finland. The seedlings were assessed for terminal shoot elongation, growth cessation, bud set, freezing injuries and bud flushing over the first growth period. All the adaptive traits showed a latitudinal trend regardless of the genetic level. Seed orchard progenies and natural stand progenies did not differ significantly in the timing of growth cessation, bud set, and the flushing rate of the frost-injured seedlings, after the trait variation was adjusted to the latitude of origin. The differences in autumn frost hardiness were insignificant, too, except for the somewhat higher injury rate displayed by the first-generation seed orchard materials. The finding was not conclusive due to ambiguous results from the two experiments. Overall, we did not find evidence of alarming compromises in the adaptive performance of genetically improved materials.
Bark beetles are amongst the most aggressive pest agents of coniferous forests. Due to this, many boreal countries have designated laws aiming to lower the risk of bark beetle epidemics. Finland’s forest legislation has pre-emptive measures targeted against bark beetles, and for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), the law concerns pine shoot beetles (Tomicus spp.). This study used data collected around 25 piles of Scots pine roundwood that were harvested in the winter but left in the forest until the following November. Thus, the pine shoot beetles were able to use the piles for breeding. We assessed the number of emerged insects from the piles and the cascading damage they caused in the surrounding forests. All roundwood piles, regardless of their volume, were used by the beetles for breeding. Highest densities of beetle exit holes were found from the parts of the log with thick and intact bark. If the bark of the log was damaged by the harvester head, the number of beetles decreased significantly. Depending on the volume of the roundwood pile, the cascading damage (fallen shoots) was noticeable up to ca. 40–60 m from the roundwood pile. Storing of piles smaller than 50 m3 did not cause excess damage. The number of fallen shoots per tree was generally below the known thresholds for when growth losses can occur. However, the study was conducted in mature forests, and it can be assumed that the recorded damage levels would severely affect the growth of young pines, raising the question of where to store the roundwood. As with other bark beetles, the role of Tomicus beetles as damage agents may change in the future, but based on this as well as past studies, the species can be viewed as a notable damage agents only around long-term wood storage sites in the current northern conditions.
In Thailand and various other countries tree seedlings are generally planted using simple manual tools, often a ‘planting stick’, but the method requires time-consuming, labour-intensive teamwork. However, use of a ‘planting tube’ allows a single person to perform both the preparation and planting work. Thus, in a classical time study and ergonomic survey we compared the productivity, cost-effectiveness, and ergonomic impact of planting Eucalyptus spp. seedlings using the two tools at the same planting site in Western Thailand. The planting tube method proved to be more productive, more cost-efficient, and less burdensome than the planting stick method (with time and cost requirements of 21 s and €0.0061 per seedling, versus 16.6 s and €0.0463 per seedling, respectively). In conclusion, the planting tube method may be a viable alternative to reduce costs and increase productivity, while maintaining reasonable workloads for the workers, despite the higher purchase price of planting tubes.
Pulpwood arriving at the mills is mainly measured by weighing. In the loading phase of forwarding and trucking, timber is weighed using scales mounted in the grapple loader. The measured weight of timber is converted into volume using a conversion factor defined as green density (kg m–3). At the mill, the green density factor is determined by sampling measurements, while in connection with weighing with grapple-mounted scales during transportation, fixed green density factors are used. In this study, we developed predictive regression models for the green density of pulpwood. The models were constructed separately by pulpwood assortments: pine (contains mainly Pinus sylvestris L); spruce (mainly Picea abies (L.) Karst.); decayed spruce; birch (mainly Betula pubescens Ehrh. and Betula pendula Roth); and aspen (mainly Populus tremula L.). Study material was composed of the sampling-based measurements at the mills between 2013–2019. The models were specified as linear mixed models with both fixed and random parameters. The fixed effect produced the expected value of green density as a function of delivery week, storage time, and meteorological conditions during storage. The random effects allowed the model calibration by utilizing the previous sampling weight measurements. The model validation showed that the model predictions faithfully reproduced the observed seasonal variation in green density. They were more reliable than those obtained with the current practices. Even the uncalibrated (fixed) predictions had lower relative root mean squared prediction errors than those obtained with the current practices.
Over 20% of regeneration operations will be on drained peatland in the next decade in Finland. There are only a few studies comparing the planting success and the risk of pine weevil (Hylobius abetis (L.) feeding damage on mineral soil and drained peatland. Thirty sites planted with Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) container seedlings in 2009 in Southern and Central Finland were inventoried three growing seasons after planting. Prediction models for the probability of survival, pine weevil damage and the presence of ground vegetation cover were done separately for peatland and mineral soil sites. The planting success was 17% lower on peatland sites (1379 surviving seedlings ha–1) than on mineral soil (1654 seedlings ha–1). The factors explaining the survival were the ground vegetation cover and type of the planting spot on the peatland, and the ground vegetation cover on mineral soil. On mineral soil, 76% of the planting spots were on cultivated mineral soil while on peatland only 28% of the seedlings were planted on similar spots. There were also fewer seedlings that were surrounded by dense ground vegetation on mineral soil (4%) than on peatland (14%). Pine weevil feeding damage did not differ significantly on peatland (23%) or mineral soil (18%). The more time there was from clear-cutting, the more the probability of pine weevil feeding damage was reduced on both soil classes. Additionally, cover vegetation in the vicinity of the seedlings increased on mineral soil. Cultivated planting spots, especially those covered by mineral soil, prevented pine weevil feeding and reduced the harmful effects of vegetation on the seedlings both on mineral soil and peatland.
Current remote sensing methods can provide detailed tree species classification in boreal forests. However, classification studies have so far focused on the dominant tree species, with few studies on less frequent but ecologically important species. We aimed to separate European aspen (Populus tremula L.), a biodiversity-supporting tree species, from the more common species in European boreal forests (Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies [L.] Karst., Betula spp.). Using multispectral drone images collected on five dates throughout one thermal growing season (May–September), we tested the optimal season for the acquisition of mono-temporal data. These images were collected from a mature, unmanaged forest. After conversion into photogrammetric point clouds, we segmented crowns manually and automatically and classified the species by linear discriminant analysis. The highest overall classification accuracy (95%) for the four species as well as the highest classification accuracy for aspen specifically (user’s accuracy of 97% and a producer’s accuracy of 96%) were obtained at the beginning of the thermal growing season (13 May) by manual segmentation. On 13 May, aspen had no leaves yet, unlike birches. In contrast, the lowest classification accuracy was achieved on 27 September during the autumn senescence period. This is potentially caused by high intraspecific variation in aspen autumn coloration but may also be related to our date of acquisition. Our findings indicate that multispectral drone images collected in spring can be used to locate and classify less frequent tree species highly accurately. The temporal variation in leaf and canopy appearance can alter the detection accuracy considerably.
This study’s aim was to identify how the application season and the method of early cleaning (EC), the first stage of multistage pre-commercial thinning (PCT), affected the time consumption in EC and in the subsequent second PCT operation. The worktime in EC was recorded in the spring, summer, and autumn in 22 sites, which were either totally cleaned or point cleaned. Later, these sites were measured at the time of the second PCT. Time consumption was estimated in PCT, based on the removal of the sites. The time consumption in EC was 5.3 productive work hours (pwh) ha–1, 7.3 pwh ha–1, and 6.2 pwh ha–1 respectively in the spring, summer, and autumn. EC in the spring instead of the summer saved 27–30% of working time, depending on the cleaning method. Point cleaning was 0.8 pwh ha–1 quicker than total cleaning, but the difference was statistically insignificant. The second stage, PCT, was 1 pwh ha–1 slower to conduct in sites which had been early cleaned in the spring instead of the summer. However, at the entire management program level, EC applied in the spring or autumn instead of the summer saved 11% or 5% respectively of the total discounted costs (3% interest rate) of multistage pre-commercial thinning. Today, the commonest time to conduct EC is in the summer, which was the most expensive of the analyzed management alternatives here. We can expect savings in juvenile stand management in forestry throughout boreal conifer forests by rethinking the seasonal workforce allocation.
Timber production and profitability were evaluated for spontaneously-regenerated mixtures on two formerly clearcut areas. The abandoned areas developed into birch-dominated (Betula pendula Roth and Betula pubescens Ehrh.) stands with successional ingrowth of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). An experiment with randomized treatments within blocks was established, using three management strategies and one unthinned control, resulting in variation in optimal rotation age, merchantable volume and species composition. The management strategies were evaluated based on total production (volume) by using measured growth data 42 years after clearcutting and the modelled future stand development. The long-term effects of spontaneous regeneration and management strategies were evaluated based on land expectation value (LEV) and compared with a fifth management strategy using artificial regeneration and intense thinnings. 12 years after treatment, at a stand age of 42 years, the unthinned control had produced the highest total stem volume. At interest rates of 2% or higher, the unmanaged forest was an economically viable strategy, even compared to an intensive management strategy with a preferred merchantable timber species. Interest rates clearly impacted the profitability of the different management strategies. This study shows that when spontaneous regeneration is successful and dense, the first competition release can have a high impact on the development of future crop trees and on the species mixture.
Studies of intra-annual growth are particularly useful for understanding tree growth because of their high temporal resolution. This study was performed in Austria and included hourly band dendrometer data of 244 annual tree recordings from six tree species (Picea abies (L.) Karst., Pinus sylvestris L., Larix decidua Mill., Abies alba Mill., Fagus sylvatica L., Quercus spp. (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl., Quercus robur L.) sampled on five sites with contrasting site conditions in pure and mixed stands and on trees of different social position. Measurements encompassed 1–7 years. Cumulative diameter increment was modelled by logistic mixed-effects models with random effects at the tree and year level. The results showed large differences in seasonal growth patterns between sites, with a clearly shorter growing season at the drier sites. Species specific response on dry sites could be linked to drought characteristics, whereas response on more humid sites was related to light requirements or successional status. The deciduous trees showed earlier growth culmination and shorter growing periods than the evergreen species. Individual tree growth of Quercus spp., P. abies, and F. sylvatica was positively affected by mixture whereas L. decidua, P. sylvestris and A. alba showed no or adverse mixture effects. Mixture effects differed between years and social position. Furthermore, increment culmination was earlier in mixed stands, but shifts were minor. Tree growth differed by social position with dominant trees showing the largest increment and the longest growth duration, with shifts in tree growth patterns due to social position being as large as those between different sites.
Dalbergia latifolia Roxb., commonly known as rosewood, is one of the highly valuable tropical timber species of Nepal. The tree species was widely distributed in the past, however, over-exploitation of natural habitat, deforestation, forest conversion for agriculture, illegal logging and the invasion of alien species resulted in the classification of this species as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) category. So, the prediction of habitat suitability and potential distribution of the species is required to develop restoration mechanisms and conservation interventions. In this study, we modelled the suitable habitat of D. latifolia over the entire possible range of Nepal using a Maxent model. We compiled 23 environmental variables (19 bioclimatic, 3 topographic and a vegetative layer), however, only 12 least correlated variables along with 43 spatially representative presence locations were retained for model prediction. We used a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to assess the model’s performance and a Jackknife procedure to evaluate the relative importance of predictor variables. The model was statistically significant with an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.969. The internal Jackknife test indicated that elevation was the most important variable for the model prediction with 71.3% contribution followed by mean temperature of driest quarter (9.8%). The most (>0.6) suitable habitat for the D. latifolia was 235 484 hectares with large sections of area in two provinces whereas, the western most provinces were not suitable for D. latifolia as per Maxent model. The information presented here can provide a framework for nature conservation planning, monitoring and habitat management of this rare and endangered species.
Tree species composition is an essential attribute in stand-level forest management inventories and remotely sensed data might be useful for its estimation. Previous studies on this topic have had several operational drawbacks, e.g., performance studied at a small scale and at a single tree-level with large fieldwork costs. The current study presents the results from a large-area inventory providing species composition following an operational area-based approach. The study utilizes a combination of airborne laser scanning and hyperspectral data and 97 field sample plots of 250 m2 collected over 350 km2 of productive forest in Norway. The results show that, with the availability of hyperspectral data, species-specific volume proportions can be provided in operational forest management inventories with acceptable results in 90% of the cases at the plot level. Dominant species were classified with an overall accuracy of 91% and a kappa-value of 0.73. Species-specific volumes were estimated with relative root mean square differences of 34%, 87%, and 102% for Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and deciduous species, respectively. A novel tree-based approach for selecting pixels improved the results compared to a traditional approach based on the normalized difference vegetation index.
In terms of assessing economic impact, one of the most important elements in the wood supply chain is the measurement of round wood. Besides the one-by-one measurement of logs, logs are often measured when stacked at the forest road. The gross stacked volume includes the volume of the wood, bark and airspace and is widely used for industrial wood assortments. The increasing international attention given to photo-optical measurement systems for portable devices is due to their simplicity of use and efficiency. The aim of this study was to compare the gross volumes of hardwood log stacks measured using one widespread photo-optical app with two manual section-wise volume estimations of log stacks based on the German framework agreement for timber trade (RVR). The manual volume estimations were done starting from the left (RVRleft) and right (RVRright) sides of the log stacks. The results showed an average deviation of the photo-optical gross volume estimation in comparison to the manual estimation of –2.09% (RVRleft) and –3.66% (RVRright) while the deviation between RVRleft and RVRright was +2.54%. However, the log stack gross volume had a highly significant effect on the deviation and better accuracy with smaller deviation were reached for larger log stacks. Moreover, results indicated that the gross volume estimations of higher quality log stacks were closer for the three analyzed methods compared to estimations of poor-quality log stacks.
Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is classified in diffuse-porous wood category. In this case structure of wood tissue is quite similar across whole cross-sectional area. The aim of this study was to analyse cross-section variability of moisture content (MC) of growing silver birch wood, significant hardwood species in Polish forests. Investigations were performed on 120 model trees. In the trunk of each model tree, an increment core was collected at breast height. Samples were collected of 30 different trees in four different seasons. The greatest MC was observed during winter, lowest MC in summer. Differences in MC were statistically significant only between winter versus spring, summer, and autumn. Distribution of MC on cross-section was similar in each season. The greatest average value was observed close to pith, then it was decreasing in bark direction. The greatest difference between observed in spring – 19.51% (p < 0.05) and lowest in autumn – 4.66%. Distribution of green density (GD) on cross section was inverse proportional to MC value. Variations in GD and MC are relevant for log transport planning, weight-scaling systems, lumber drying and dynamic assessment of stiffness. Therefore, from an environmental loss perspective, it is important to determine changes in MC and GD across the year.
Handeliodendron bodinieri (H. Lév.) Rehder is a rare, endangered, and therefore, protected tree species native to China. However, there are serious limitations to the effective protection of the species, including a low seed germination-rate and difficult storage due to a high seed oil-content. Here, we evaluated the feasibility of ultra-dry seed storage and its effects on seedling growth. We used the silica gel method to prepare ultra-dry seeds with different moisture contents to find an optimal moisture content range (2.54%–4.77%). Ultra-dry treatment improved storability of H. bodinieri seeds. Furthermore, seeds with a moisture content of 4.77% stored at room temperature, and seeds with a moisture content of 3.97% stored at 4 °C yielded the best results. Priming with an appropriate concentration of polyethylene glycol had a certain repairing effect on ultra-dry stored seeds and improved seed vigor, with a two-day priming treatment with 20% polyethylene glycol having the best effect. Finally, compared with sand storage at 4 °C, ultra-dry storage promoted seedling growth and root development; furthermore, it alleviated storage damage to H. bodinieri seeds, promoted soluble sugar and soluble protein accumulation, and increased seedling nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium uptake. Therefore, ultra-dry storage can be effectively used to preserve H. bodinieri seeds. Specifically, low-temperature storage of ultra-dry seeds with a moisture content of 3.97% enhanced H. bodinieri seed vigor, and seedling growth and development.
Forests and forestry will encounter several changes of unknown magnitude within the coming decades. In the Nordic, long rotations complicate any anticipation to the upcoming changes. Tree breeding can contribute to coping with these changes. The time span of implementing breeding results in practice may be shortened through vegetative propagation. Introducing vegetative propagation to forest regeneration may phase several challenges before adopted by the industry, some of which are related to perceptions about new technology. Firstly, private forest owners are in a key role in implementing the technology in practice; although they do not represent the overall public, they are the decision makers in their own estates regarding forestry and forest regeneration. Secondly, the professionals related to the production of forest regeneration material and plants from forest species are in a key role when it comes to practically introducing the new technology to the forest owners. In this survey, perceptions of forest owners and professionals towards tree breeding and vegetative propagation were investigated. Additionally, the respondents were asked which traits they considered important to be improved by breeding, and their willingness to pay for these improved traits. The respondents valued the most: improved pest and pathogen resistance, improved resilience of forest in changing climate, and securing the species’ gene pool. Responses indicated that forest owners would be willing to pay more for the improved traits in forest regeneration material. The current novel study provides a foundation to concern public awareness regarding tree breeding and vegetative propagation in the future.
We used a process-based hydrological model SUSI to improve guidelines for ditch network maintenance (DNM) operations on drained peatland forests. SUSI takes daily weather data, ditch depth, strip width, peat properties, and forest stand characteristics as input and calculates daily water table depth (WTD) at different distances from ditch. The study focuses on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated stands which are the most common subjects of DNM. Based on a literature survey, and consideration of the tradeoffs between forest growth and detrimental environmental impacts, long term median July–August WTD of 0.35 m was chosen as a target WTD. The results showed that ditch depths required to reach such WTD depends strongly on climatic locations, stand volume, ditch spacing, and peat thickness and type. In typical ditch cleaning areas in Finland with parallel ditches placed about 40 m apart and tree stand volumes exceeding 45 m3 ha–1, 0.3–0.8 m deep ditches were generally sufficient to lower WTD to the targeted depth of 0.35 m. These are significantly shallower ditch depths than generally recommended in operational forestry. The main collector ditch should be naturally somewhat deeper to permit water outflow. Our study brings a firmer basis on environmentally sound forestry on drained peatlands.
Traditional timber production may have negative effects on other ecosystem services. Therefore, new forest management guidelines have been developed in order to enhance a habitat suitable for wildlife. In Finland, a recent example of this is grouse-friendly forest management (GFFM) which emphasises the preservation of grouse species (Tetronidae) habitats. This study aimed to analyse the economic effects of these guidelines. An analysis was made on how the application of GFFM affected the Net Present Value (NPV) in a 30-year simulation of forest management of four large forest holdings located from south to north in Finland. In the simulations, traditional forest management practices were compared to two levels of GFFM. Five levels of interest rate were used, namely 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5%. In most of the simulations, the NPV was reduced by about 1% or less due to the application of GFFM in comparison to the traditional reference forest management. Only in one case with more intensive GFFM, was the reduction of NPV more than 5%. The interest rates had an impact on the differences between the management approaches. For example, a low interest rate resulted in a higher thinning intensity in GFFM in comparison to traditional forest management, which lead to a higher NPV in GFFM. To sum up, it seems that it would be possible to manage forest holdings in a grouse-friendly manner with minor effects on the economics.
Young, dense forest in Finland and Sweden urgently need to receive first thinning. In such stands, conventional selective thinning methods make the harvester work time consuming and, thus, costly. To make small-sized trees economically competitive as raw material for bioenergy and biorefining, new harvesting technologies and/or thinning methods need to be developed. A potential solution is boom-corridor thinning (BCT), rendering effective cutting work. The aim of this study was to describe and compare the stand structure of two Scots pine stands (Pinus sylvestris L.) and one birch-dominated (Betula pendula Roth with natural downy birch, B. pubescens Ehrh.) stand after BCT and selective thinning at the first thinning phase. Furthermore, simulations were conducted to predict the future stand development after the first thinning treatments. The density of the growing stock was 16–46% higher after BCT treatment than after selective thinning because BCT stands included more small and supressed trees with a dbh < 100 mm. However, the numbers of future crop trees with a dbh > 140 mm per hectare were at the same level in both treatments. The stem volume removal per hectare did not differ between treatments. However, simulation of stand development and intermediate thinning and clearcutting revealed that the total removal volume was 10–18% higher in BCT stands compared to selectively thinned ones. The saw log volumes harvested did, however, not differ between treatments. This study shows that BCT generates stands with higher biodiversity compared to conventional thinning as higher levels of biomass removal can be reached throughout stand rotations.
So far, consumer housing values have not been addressed as factors affecting the market diffusion potential of multi-storey wood building (MSWB). To fill the void, this study addresses different types of consumer housing values in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden (i.e., Nordic region), and whether they affect the likelihood of prejudices against building with wood in the housing markets. The data collected in 2018 from 2191 consumers in the Nordic region were analyzed with exploratory factor analysis and logistic binary regression analysis. According to the results, consumers’ perceptions on ecological sustainability, material usage and urban lifestyle were similar in all countries, while country-specific differences were detected for perceptions on aesthetics and natural milieus. In all countries, appreciating urban lifestyle and living in attractive neighborhoods with good reputation increased the likelihood of prejudices against wood building, while appreciation of aesthetics and natural milieus decreased the likelihood of prejudices. In strengthening the demand for MSWB and sustainable urbanization through actions in businesses (e.g., branding) and via public policy support (e.g., land zoning), few messages derive from the results. In all, abreast with the already existing knowledge on the supply side factors (e.g., wood building innovations), more customized information is needed on the consumer-driven issues affecting the demand potential of MSWB in the housing markets. This would enable, e.g., both enhancing the supply of wooden homes for consumers appreciating urban lifestyle and neighborhoods and fortifying positive image of wood among consumers especially appreciating good architecture and pleasant environmental milieus.
Ageing and competition reduce trees’ ability to capture resources, which predisposes them to death. In this study, the effect of senescence on the survival probability of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) was analysed by fitting alternative survival probability models. Different model formulations were compared in the dataset, which comprised managed and unmanaged plots in long-term forest experiments in Finland and Norway, as well as old-growth stands in Finland. Stand total age ranged from 19 to 290 years. Two models were formulated without an age variable, such that the negative coefficient for the squared stem diameter described a decreasing survival probability for the largest trees. One of the models included stand age as a separate independent variable, and three models included an interaction term between stem diameter and stand age. According to the model including stand age and its interaction with stem diameter, the survival probability curves could intersect each other in stands with a similar structure but a different mean age. Models that did not include stand age underestimated the survival rate of the largest trees in the managed stands and overestimated their survival rate in the old-growth stands. Models that included stand age produced more plausible predictions, especially for the largest trees. The results supported the hypothesis that the stand age and senescence of trees decreases the survival probability of trees, and that the ageing effect improves survival probability models for Norway spruce.
Strong wind is the major natural disturbance in European forests, that periodically causes tremendous damages to forestry. Yet, factors that affect the probability of wind damage for birch (Betula pendula Roth and B. pubescens Ehrh.), the most common deciduous tree species in hemiboreal forests, are studied scarcely. This study aimed to assess the effects of several tree- and stand-scale variables on the probability of wind damage to birch using data from the Latvian National Forest Inventory (2004–2018), and determine individual tree characteristics that affect the height of the stem breakage. The data analysis was done using the Bayesian binary logistic generalized linear mixed-effects model and a linear mixed-effects model. The probability of wind damage significantly increased by stand age, basal area, and slenderness ratio. Trees with prior damage had a significantly higher probability (odds ratio 4.32) for wind damage. For wind-damaged trees, the snapping height was significantly decreased by an increase in the slenderness ratio (p = 0.03) and prior damage (p = 0.003). Previously damaged trees were more frequently (73%) snapped in the lowest 40% of tree height than trees without prior damage (54%). The probability of wind damage is largely set by factors related to the selection of site, species composition, and rotation. The damage probability could be decreased by management measures that lower competition within the stand with particular regard to preserving intact remaining trees during these manipulations. Factors that reduce the probability of the damage simultaneously increase the snapping height, emphasizing their relevance for mitigation of the wind damages.
In Germany, management restrictions for Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) due to climate change lead to increasing interest in Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) as a potential substituting species. However, Douglas fir requires cost-intensive silvicultural treatments, such as periodic thinnings and, in particular, pruning. In order to improve the efficiency of such treatments, a new tending system with an adapted two-step work system was analyzed. The new system, using electric pruning shears and the backpack clearing saw Husqvarna 535FBX ‘Spacer’, was compared to the conventional three-step work system, using handsaw and chainsaw and characterized by tree selection previously conducted as an independent work step. Time and motion studies to determine productivity and costs, as well as ergonomic analysis through heart rate measurements and posture analysis were conducted. Overall, the new system was found to be more productive and to have lower costs, with 8.9 trees per scheduled system hour (4.17 € tree–1), compared to the conventional system with 8.1 trees per scheduled system hour (4.44 € tree–1). Ergonomic improvements with the new system could be mainly observed during the felling of competing trees, when the level of heart rate reserve was reduced by 9.3 percent points, compared to the conventional system. However, significant advantages in reducing unfavorable body postures expected for the ‘Spacer’ could not be confirmed. Since time savings within the new system were mainly attributed to the adaptation of workflow and the use of the electric shears during pruning, it should be considered to replace the ‘Spacer’ within the new system by light chainsaws for best results under the conditions investigated.
The alternate host range of cherry-spruce rust is poorly studied although such information could be important in protecting spruce seed orchards from infections. Pathogenicity of cherry-spruce rust, Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus, was investigated on potential alternate host species in a greenhouse and in a laboratory in Finland. Five common species of Ericaceae, Vaccinium myrtillus L., V. uliginosum L., V. vitis-idaea L., Empetrum nigrum L. and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng, were inoculated in the greenhouse using aeciospores from seven Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.] seed orchards suffering from T. areolata in 2018. In addition, young detached leaves of Vaccinium spp. and 17 other plant species of ground vegetation from eight Norway spruce seed orchards were inoculated with aeciospores from six seed orchards in the laboratory in 2019. Also, young leaves of Prunus padus L. trees growing within the seed orchards or close to them were inoculated as controls. None of the inoculated leaves of the potential alternate hosts formed uredinia either in the greenhouse or in the laboratory. In contrast, leaves of P. padus from the seed orchards were infected by the six spore sources from six seed orchards and produced uredinia. As T. areolata spores were able to infect only P. padus, but not the other tested species belonging to ground flora, it was concluded that T. areolata disperses only via Prunus spp. in Finnish seed orchards.
Tree height-diameter allometry reflects the response of specific species to above and belowground resource allocation patterns. However, traditional methods (e.g. stepwise regression (SR)) may ignore model uncertainty during the variable selection process. In this study, 450 trees of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook.) grown at five spacings were used. We explored the height-diameter allometry in relation to stand and climate variables through Bayesian model averaging (BMA) and identifying the contributions of these variables to the allometry, as well as comparing with the SR method. Results showed the SR model was equal to the model with the third highest posterior probability of the BMA models. Although parameter estimates from the SR method were similar to BMA, BMA produced estimates with slightly narrower 95% intervals. Heights increased with increasing planting density, dominant height, and mean annual temperature, but decreased with increasing stand basal area and summer mean maximum temperature. The results indicated that temperature was the dominant climate variable shaping the height-diameter allometry for Chinese fir plantations. While the SR model included the mean coldest month temperature and winter mean minimum temperature, these variables were excluded in BMA, which indicated that redundant variables can be removed through BMA.
Mechanical site preparation methods that used tools mounted on lightweight excavators and that provided localised intensive preparation were tested in eight experimental sites across France where the vegetation was dominated either by Molinia caerulea (L.) Moench or Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn. Two lightweight tools (Deep Scarifier: DS; Deep Scarifier followed by Multifunction Subsoiler: DS+MS) were tested in pine (Pinus sylvestris L., Pinus nigra var. corsicana (Loudon) Hyl. or Pinus pinaster Aiton) and oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. or Quercus robur L.) plantations. Regional methods commonly used locally (herbicide, disk harrow, mouldboard plow) and experimental methods (repeated herbicide application; untreated control) were used as references in the experiments. Neighbouring vegetation cover, seedling survival, height and basal diameter were assessed over three to five years after plantation. For pines growing in M. caerulea, seedling diameter after four years was 37% and 98% greater in DS and DS+MS, respectively, than in the untreated control. For pines growing in P. aquilinum, it was 62% and 107% greater in the same treatments. For oak, diameter was only 4% and 15% greater in M. caerulea, and 13% and 25% greater in P. aquilinum, in the same treatments. For pines, the survival rate after four years was 26% and 32% higher in M. caerulea and 64% and 70% higher in P. aquilinum, in the same treatments. For oak, it was 3% and 29% higher in M. caerulea and 37% and 31% higher in P. aquilinum. Herbicide, when applied for three or four years after planting, provided the best growth performances for pines growing in M. caerulea and P. aquilinum and for oaks growing in P. aquilinum. For these species and site combinations, DS+MS and DS treatments reduced the neighbouring vegetation cover for one to four years following site preparation.
Modern forestry, which mainly consists of clear-cutting, is one of the most important factors influencing today’s boreal forests. In Sweden, the breaking point for modern forestry is generally considered to be around 1950. Recently, our common knowledge of the implementation of clear-cutting in Sweden has increased, and new research indicates that clear-cutting systems were already applied before the 1950s. In this case study, we used aerial photographs from the 1940s to analyze the extent of contemporaneous clear-cuts and even-aged young forests in an area in northern Sweden. Our results show that almost 40% of the study area had already been clear-cut by the end of the 1940s, but also that clear-cutting had been applied to 10% of the forest land in the early 1900s. This implies that the historical development of forestry in northern Sweden is more complex than previously thought, and that certain proportions of the forest land were already second-generation forests in the 1950s. Our results have implications for the use of concepts such as “continuity forest”, suggesting that this concept should employ a time frame of at least 100 years.
Novel information on silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) foliar element contents and their seasonal, between-habitat and leaf level variations are provided by applying fine-scaled element mapping with micro X-ray fluorescence. In the monthly leaf samples collected from May to October from six different habitats, pairwise scatter plots and Spearman’s rank correlations showed statistically significant positive correlations between Si, Al and Fe, and covariations between also many other pairs of elements. Of the ten elements studied, seven showed statistically significant changes in their average levels between May and June. The contents of P, S and K decreased in most habitats during the later season, whereas Ca and in some habitats also Mn and Zn increased. Comparing habitats, trees in the limestone habitat had relatively low content of Mg, strongly increasing levels of P until the late season, and high content of Ca and Fe. Other habitats also revealed distinctive particularities in their foliar elements, such as a high relative content of S and a low content of Ca at the seashore. Mn was high in three habitats, possibly due to bedrock characteristics. Except for P, the contents of all elements diverged between the midrib and other leaf areas. Zn content was particularly high in the leaf veins. Mn levels were highest at the leaf margins, indicating a possible sequestration mechanism for this potentially harmful element. Si may help to alleviate the metallic toxicities of Al and Fe. Because the growing season studied was dry, some trees developed symptoms of drought stress. The injured leaf parts had reduced levels of P, S and K, suggesting translocation of these nutrients before permanent damage.
Cherry-spruce rust caused by Thekopsora areolata (Fr.) Magnus is a serious cone pathogen of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.]. The rust causes great economical losses in seed orchards specialized in the production of high quality seeds. Germination range of T. areolata aeciospores from rust populations (spore sources) in seven Finnish Norway spruce seed orchards was tested on water agar and malt agar at nine temperatures varying between 6–30 °C. The temperature range of spore germination was high varying between 6 °C and 27 °C, while germination was retarded at 30 °C. The peak in germination rate of all spore sources occurred between 15–24 °C. In a model with fixed effects of agar media, temperature and spore source, temperature had the most significant effect on germination. Spore source had a less significant effect, while agar media had a non-significant effect on germination. The rust was able to germinate at low temperatures corresponding to temperatures when the thermal growing season starts at 5 °C in the spring. As spores from cones from both the spruce canopy and the ground showed very similar germination ranges, it indicated the great capacity of all spores of the rust to germinate early in the spring. Hot temperatures with over 30 °C drastically reduced germination of the rust.
The aim of this study was to determine if the ascomycete fungus Sphaeropsis sapinea (Fr.) Dyko & B. Sutton (syn. Diplodia sapinea (Fr.) Fuckel) could be cultured from surface sterilized Scots pine twigs presenting the endophytic stage of this fungus. This fungus causes the disease called Diplodia tip blight in conifers. Symptoms become visible when trees have been weakened by abiotic stressors related to temperature, drought and hailstorms. The disease is rapidly increasing and is observed regularly in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests in Europe. Changes in climatic conditions will gradually increase the damage of this pathogen, because it is favored by elevated temperatures and additionally the host trees will be more susceptible due to related environmental stress. Diplodia tip blight is emerging towards Northern latitudes, thus, actions to monitor the spread of S. sapinea in pine-dominated forests should be undertaken in Finland. Our aim was to search for S. sapinea in Scots pine along a transect in Finland. Branch samples were collected from healthy Scots pine, fungal endophytes were isolated and morphologically identified. Sixteen S. sapinea strains were found from four Scots pine trees from two locations. This finding confirms that S. sapinea is found as an endophyte in healthy Scots pine in Finland.
The carbon emissions displacement effect of Finnish logs for mechanical wood products by dominant tree species (Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris L.; Norway spruce, Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.; Birch, Betula spp.) was assessed by combining information from previous studies of current consumption patterns with displacement factors (DF) for structural construction, non-structural construction, and energy usage. We did not conduct additional life cycle analyses compared to the current literature. Our aim was to identify the factors that most extensively influence the displacement effect and to estimate the overall climate effect of Finnish logs in light of current production levels of mechanical forest industry. The analyses were based on information from both statistics and proprietary sources. Contrary to previous studies, we provide DFs by main tree species in Finland, which has been an unidentified area of research to date. Additionally, we apply a more detailed classification of structural and non-structural wood products. This study did not include effects on the forest carbon sink, as they depend case-wise on forest resources and forest management. According to our results, with current production and consumption trends, the average displacement effects for domestic Scots pine, Norway spruce, and birch logs were 1.28, 1.16, and 1.43 Mg C/Mg C, respectively. The corresponding overall annual displacement effect caused by the current production of sawn wood and wood-based panels was 12.3 Tg CO2 for Finland for the BAU scenario and varied between 8.6 and 16.3 Tg CO2 depending on the wood use scenario.
Two different pulse density airborne laser scanning datasets were used to develop a quality assessment methodology to determine how airborne laser scanning derived variables with the use of reference surface can determine forest road quality. The concept of a reference DEM (Digital Elevation Model) was used to guarantee locally invariant topographic analysis of road roughness. Structural condition, surface wear and flatness were assessed at two test sites in Eastern Finland, calculating surface indices with and without the reference DEM. The high pulse density dataset (12 pulses m–2) gave better classification results (77% accuracy of the correctly classified road sections) than the low pulse density dataset (1 pulse m–2). The use of a reference DEM increased the precision of the road quality classification with the low pulse density dataset when the classification was performed in two-steps. Four interpolation techniques (Inverse Weighted Distance, Kriging, Natural Neighbour and Spline) were compared, and spline interpolation provided the best classification. The work shows that applying a spline reference DEM it is possible to identify 66% of the poor quality road sections and 78% of the good ones. Locating these roads is essential for road maintenance.
Photogrammetric point clouds obtained with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as an alternative source of remotely sensed data for small area forest management inventories (FMI). Nonetheless, it is often overlooked that small area FMI require considerable field data in addition to UAS data, to support the modelling of forest attributes. In this study, we propose a method whereby tree volumes by species are predicted with photogrammetric UAS data and Sentinel-2 images, using models fitted with airborne laser scanning data. The study area is in a managed boreal forest area in Eastern Finland. First, we predicted total volume with UAS point cloud metrics using a prior regression model fitted in another area with ALS data. Tree species proportions were then predicted by k nearest neighbor (k-NN) imputation based on bi-seasonal Sentinel-2 images without measuring new field plot data. Species-specific volumes were then obtained by multiplying the total volume by species proportions. The relative root mean square error (RMSE) values for total and species-specific volume predictions at the validation plot level (30 m × 30 m) were 9.0%, and 33.4–62.6%, respectively. Our approach appears promising for species-specific small area FMI in Finland and in comparable forest conditions in which suitable field plots are available.
Abiotic stress is one of the major factors in reducing plant growth, development, and yield production by interfering with various physiological, biochemical, and molecular functions. In particular, abiotic stress such as salt, low temperature, heat, drought, UV-radiation, elevated CO2, ozone, and heavy metals stress is the most frequent study in Betula platyphylla Sukaczev. Betula platyphylla is one of the most valuable tree species in East Asia facing abiotic stress during its life cycle. Using transgenic plants is a powerful tool to increase the B. platyphylla abiotic stress tolerance. Generally, abiotic stress reduces leaves water content, plant height, fresh and dry weight, and enhances shed leaves as well. In the physiological aspect, salt, heavy metal, and osmotic stress disturbs seed germination, stomatal conductance, chlorophyll content, and photosynthesis. In the biochemical aspect, salt, drought, cold, heat, osmotic, UV-B radiation, and heavy metal stress increases the ROS production of B. platyphylla cells, resulting in the enhancement of enzymatic antioxidant (SOD and POD) and non-enzymatic antioxidant (proline and AsA) to reduce the ROS accumulation. Meanwhile, B. platyphylla upregulates various genes, as well as proteins to participate in abiotic stress tolerance. Based on recent studies, several transcription factors contribute to increasing abiotic stress tolerance in B. platyphylla, including BplMYB46, BpMYB102, BpERF13, BpERF2, BpHOX2, BpHMG6, BpHSP9, BpUVR8, BpBZR1, BplERD15, and BpNACs. These transcription factors bind to different cis-acting elements to upregulate abiotic stress-related genes, resulting in the enhancement of salt, drought, cold, heat, osmotic, UV-B radiation, and heavy metal tolerance. These genes along with phytohormones mitigate the abiotic stress. This review also highlights the candidate genes from another Betulacea family member that might be contributing to increasing B. platyphylla abiotic stress tolerance.
Spectral mixture analysis was used to estimate the contribution of woody elements to tree level reflectance from airborne hyperspectral data in boreal forest stands in Finland. Knowledge of the contribution of woody elements to tree or forest reflectance is important in the context of lea area index (LAI) estimation and, e.g., in the estimation of defoliation due to insect outbreaks, from remote sensing data. Field measurements from four Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), five Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and four birch (Betula pendula Roth and Betula pubescens Ehrh.) dominated plots, spectral measurements of needles, leaves, bark, and forest floor, airborne hyperspectral as well as airborne laser scanning data were used together with a physically-based forest reflectance model. We compared the results based on simple linear combinations of measured bark and needle/leaf spectra to those obtained by accounting for multiple scattering of radiation within the canopy using a physically-based forest reflectance model. The contribution of forest floor to reflectance was additionally considered. The resulted mean woody element contribution estimates varied from 0.140 to 0.186 for Scots pine, from 0.116 to 0.196 for birches and from 0.090 to 0.095 for Norway spruce, depending on the model used. The contribution of woody elements to tree reflectance had a weak connection to plot level forest variables.
The pulse density of airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is increasing due to technical developments. The trade-offs between pulse density, inventory costs, and forest attribute measurement accuracy are extensively studied, but the possibilities of high-density airborne LiDAR in stream extraction and soil wetness mapping are unknown. This study aimed to refine the best practices for generating a hydrologically conditioned digital elevation model (DEM) from an airborne LiDAR -derived 3D point cloud. Depressionless DEMs were processed using a stepwise breaching-filling method, and the performance of overland flow routing was studied in relation to a pulse density, an interpolation method, and a raster cell size. The study area was situated on a densely ditched forestry site in Parkano municipality, for which LiDAR data with a pulse density of 5 m–2 were available. Stream networks and a topographic wetness index (TWI) were derived from altogether 12 DEM versions. The topological database of Finland was used as a ground reference in comparison, in addition to 40 selected main flow routes within the catchment. The results show improved performance of overland flow modeling due to increased data density. In addition, commonly used triangulated irregular networks were clearly outperformed by universal kriging and inverse-distance weighting in DEM interpolation. However, the TWI proved to be more sensitive to pulse density than an interpolation method. Improved overland flow routing contributes to enhanced forest resource planning at detailed spatial scales.
Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) provides a unique opportunity to study forest canopy structure and its spatial patterns such as foliage quantity and dispersal. Using TLS point clouds for estimating leaf area density with voxel-based methods is biased by the physical dimensions of laser beams, which violates the common assumption of beams being infinitely thin. Real laser beams have a footprint size larger than several millimeters. This leads to difficulties in estimating leaf area density from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) in vegetation, where the target objects can be of similar or even smaller size than the beam footprint. To compensate for this bias, we propose a method to estimate the per-pulse cover fraction, defined as the fraction of laser beams’ footprint area that is covered by vegetation targets, using the LiDAR return intensity and an experimental calibration measurement. We applied this method to a Leica P40 single-return instrument, and report our experimental results. We found that conifer foliage had a lower average per-pulse cover fraction than broadleaved foliage, indicating an increased number of partial hits in conifer foliage. We further discuss limitations of our method that stem from unknown target properties that influence the LiDAR return intensity and highlight potential ways to overcome the limitations and manage the remaining uncertainty. Our method’s output, the per-beam cover fraction, may be useful in a weight function for methods that estimate leaf area density from LiDAR point clouds.
Populations of tree species with a wide geographic range, such as silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), show genetic specialization to native environments, while maintaining high phenotypical plasticity. Accordingly, assessment of local specialization is essential for adaptive management. The aim of the study was to detect geographic patterns of local adaptation of growth and stem quality based on two open-pollinated progeny trials in Latvia testing local material. Two provenance regions differing by continentality were distinguished, which also differed in genetic control of growth traits, likely originating from the post-glacial recolonization of vegetation and subsequent natural adaptation. Heritability of the traits was estimated for each of the distinguished regions, indicating differing patterns of genetic adaptation and potential for future selection. Trees from the more continental inland showed superior growth and possessed higher heritability. The coastal provenance region showed slower growth and intermediate heritability of the respective traits. Moderate to high heritability for stem quality traits was estimated irrespectively of region. Overall, better growth and higher heritability suggests that anthropogenic selection within the best inland provenances may constitute better performing and adaptable breeding population compared to the coastal one. Still, overlapping phenotypical variation and heritability of quality traits implies improved stemwood quality for plywood regardless of the provenance region. High adaptive capacity of silver birch genotypes suggests ability to cope with climatic changes, highlighting its potential for climate-smart forestry.
According to ecology theory, isolated habitat fragments cannot maintain populations of specialized species. Yet, empirical evidence based on monitoring of the same fragments over time is still limited. We studied the colonization–extinction dynamics of eight wood-decaying fungal species in 16 old-growth forest fragments (<14 ha) over a 20-year period (1997–2017). We observed 19 extinctions and 5 colonizations; yet, the distribution of extinctions and colonizations did not differ from the one expected by chance for any of the species. Twenty-six percent of the extinctions took place in two natural fragments amid large forest–peatland complexes. Phellinus nigrolimitatus (Romell) Bourdot and Galzin decreased and Phellinus ferrugineofuscus (P. Karst.) Bourdot increased in abundance (number of logs occupied). The volume of living spruce trees in the forest fragments correlated positively with the number of logs inhabited in five of the study species. Because fragment characteristics did not affect species turnover, it seems that stochastic processes governed colonizations and extinctions. Although the least abundant species in 1997 had declined, and the most abundant species had become more abundant, it appears that specialized wood-decaying fungi can persist for decades in isolated old-growth forest fragments, if suitable dead wood is continuously available.