Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022
Pre-commercial thinning in Norway spruce-birch mixed stands can provide abundant forage for ungulates without losing volume productionAra, Mostarin; Felton, Annika Maria; Holmstrom, Emma; Petersson, Lisa; Berglund, Mattias; Johansson, Ulf; Nilsson, Urban
AbstractMixed stands of Norway spruce and birch have the potential to simultaneously produce timber and provide large ungulates with a significant amount of forage during the regeneration phase. While the growth and yield of such mixtures are well studied, little is known about potential trade-offs between timber and forage production and which management techniques are suitable for meeting both goals. In this study, four different pre-commercial thinning (PCT) strategies were used to study the trade-offs between production and available forage for free-ranging ungulates in a Norway spruce-birch mixture. The four PCT strategies were: 1) retaining 2000 birch stems ha(-1) with 2000 Norway spruce ha(-1), 2) removing all birches within a 0.75 m radius around Norway spruce stems, 3) removing all birches and other broadleaves, and 4) no PCT (control). Growth of Norway spruce was higher in the 2000 birch ha(-1) and full removal treatments compared to the untreated control, but these two treatments did not differ from one another in volume production of Norway spruce. We found a negative effect of PCT on forage availability but no effect on ungulate browsing. Therefore, PCT strategies that provide both sufficient birch forage and maximize volume production of Norway spruce can be implemented.
KeywordsBirch; Forage; Mixed stand; Norway spruce; Ungulates
Published inForest Ecology and Management
2022, volume: 520, article number: 120364
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