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Report, 2000

Primary succession and dynamics of Norway spruce coastal forests on land-uplift ground moraine

Svensson, Johan S.; Jeglum, John K.


This paper is an overview of primary succession on the rising coastlines of the Gulf of Bothnia, which emphasises Norway spruce succession and forest development and identifies topics for research. It is concluded that continuing postglacial rebound provides excellent successional sequences, and an exceptional opportunity to add new and important knowledge on original forest ecosystem development. First, long-term undisturbed forest series, terminating in climax-like Norway spruce forest, exist. Secondly, a well-stocked, oldgrowth spruce forest can develop on the (generally) fairly productive mesic ground-moraine sites in a short ecological time. Thirdly, undisturbed successional sequences, which go back to original soil formation, permit reconstruction of ecosystems' developmental history. Fourthly, the relationship between ground elevation and land-uplift rate facilitates estimates of ground age, and consequently permits a four-dimensional study approach. Fifthly, in view of extensive anthropogenic influence in boreal Fennoscandian forests, the few remaining natural spruce forests should be recognised and carefully documented. From our review of the literature, we conclude that present knowledge of the succession of Norway spruce on emerging shorelines, and the part played by land uplift and other factors, is fragmentary. Attention should to be given to initial spruce seedling colonisation relative to factors such as sea-water level, exposure (winds, fetch), parent material, seedbed types, potential seed source (isolation), and island size. Possible multiple pathways of Norway spruce primary succession relative to temporal changes in exposure and other factors, have so far received little research effort. Attention also should to be paid to the response of spruce populations to site maturation, i.e. to increasing ground age based on land-uplift rate and elevation above sea level. Finally, attention should to be paid to autogenic processes in spruce-dominated stages developing towards climax-like, oldgrowth forests.


Literature review; Gulf of Bothnia; postglacial rebound; Picea abies; boreal; old-growth forest; natural forest; structure; Sweden

Published in

Studia Forestalia Suecica
ISBN: 91-576-5982-6
Publisher: Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences

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