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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Regeneration failure of Scots pine changes the species composition of young forests

Ara, Mostarin; Barbeito, Ignacio; Kalen, Christer; Nilsson, Urban


How seedling mortality and browsing affects species composition of regenerating forests has been mostly studied on a small scale. Yet, large-scale analyses based on extensive data are essential for robust prediction of species composition in young forests. In this study, we used a dataset from a national inventory of young forests (1-4 metres in height) to investigate the species composition of young forests across Sweden. We found that most of the regenerated forest area (almost 90%) was planted with Norway spruce (southern Sweden) and Scots pine (northern Sweden). Regeneration of Norway spruce was generally relatively successful but as a consequence of seedling mortality and browsing, almost 40% of the area regenerated with Scots pine will probably not develop into pine-dominated stands. Thus, low survival of Scots pine seedlings and trees can profoundly change the trajectory of species composition of the young forest from what was originally intended, and a large proportion of the young stands may develop into mixtures of conifers and broadleaves. While such mixtures may benefit certain biodiversity and ecosystem services, a loss of Scots pine dominated stands may also have adverse impacts on the economic returns as well as pine-dependent biodiversity and recreational values.


browsing damage; Scots pine; Norway spruce; mixed forest

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2022, volume: 37, number: 1, pages: 1445-1457

Authors' information

Ara, Mostarin
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Barbeito, Ignacio
University of British Columbia
Kalén, Christer
Swedish Forest Agency
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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