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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

The influence of fencing on seedling establishment during reforestation of oak stands: a comparison of artificial and natural regeneration techniques including costs

Lof, Magnus; Barrere, Julien; Engman, Mattias; Petersson, Linda K.; Villalobos, Adrian


In temperate Europe, oak-dominated forests are widespread, supporting high biodiversity and providing important ecosystem services. Insufficient natural regeneration has, however, been a concern for over a century. The objective of this study was to gain insights into differences in regeneration success using artificial and natural regeneration techniques for reforestation of oak (Quercus robur L.) stands. We monitored seedlings following planting, direct seeding and natural regeneration over five years in a randomized block experiment in southern Sweden with fenced and non-fenced plots. Fencing had a strong positive effect on height growth, especially for planted seedlings that were taller than the other seedlings and more frequently browsed in non-fenced plots. In contrast, there was little effect of fencing on survival, establishment rate and recruitment rate of seedlings. Due to aboveground damage on seedlings from voles, protection of acorns did not improve establishment rate following direct seeding. Under current circumstances at the site with a sparse shelterwood of old oaks, we conclude that natural regeneration was the most cost-efficient regeneration method. It resulted in the most seedlings at the lowest cost. However, regeneration success was heavily influenced by interference from herbaceous vegetation. With a small additional investment in vegetation control, the results might have been improved for planting and direct seeding.


Competition; Deer; Herbivory; Pedunculate oak; Regeneration method; Silviculture

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2021, Volume: 140, number: 4, pages: 807-817
Publisher: SPRINGER