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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

A Global Review on Innovative, Sustainable, and Effective Materials Composing Growing Media for Forest Seedling Production

Mariotti, Barbara; Oliet, Juan A.; Andivia, Enrique; Tsakaldimi, Marianthi; Villar-Salvador, Pedro; Ivetic, Vladan; Montagnoli, Antonio; Jankovic, Ivona Kerkez; Bilir, Nebi; Bohlenius, Henrik; Cvjetkovic, Branislav; Dumins, Karlis; Heiskanen, Juha; Hinkov, Georgi; Floistad, Inger Sundheim; Cocozza, Claudia

Abstract

Purpose of Review The demand for forest tree seedlings is increasing globally, and Sphagnum peat moss is widely used as a component of growing media for container plant production. However, peat extraction is environmentally unsustainable. The forest nursery sector needs to switch to more sustainable alternatives to peat. This review aims to identify potential substitutes for peat by reviewing the worldwide literature on alternative materials for growing media in forest nurseries. Recent Findings Most studies on alternative growing media focused on single plant species growing under local conditions, thereby limiting generalizations about the effectiveness of alternative materials for plant production. To our knowledge, no systematic reviews of scientific literature on the effectiveness of new, alternative-to-peat materials for enhancing plant growth and the associated growing media characteristics for the forest nursery sector are currently available. Summary Most of the analyzed case studies focused on angiosperms (73.1%), with the majority of studies coming from tropical seasonal forests/savannas (36.5%), followed by woodlands/shrublands (31.6%), and temperate forests (15.0%) biomes. Compost was the most studied material (19.5%), followed by bark, other organic materials, and manure (9.8, 9.7, and 8.0%, respectively). Green and municipal wastes were the principal sources of compost (> 60%), while agriculture and green wastes were the first sources of other materials (> 90%). Tested materials were dependent on the geographic region. Thus, manure was the most tested material in Africa and South America, tree bark in North America, and compost in Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Alternative materials effectively provided optimal physicochemical characteristics of growing media and enhanced seedling nursery growth when compared with peat-based growing media in more than 60% of the case studies. This review helps to identify research gaps and, most importantly, provides the basis for the future application of alternative growing media materials in forest nursery management worldwide.

Keywords

Environmental sustainability; Forest nursery; Peat substitution; Organic waste recycling; Restoration; Seedling production; Substrate

Published in

Current Forestry Reports
2023,
Publisher: SPRINGER INT PUBL AG

    Associated SLU-program

    SLUsystematic

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40725-023-00204-2

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/126836