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Research article2003Peer reviewed

Distribution of deciduous stands in villages located in coniferous forest landscapes in Sweden

Mikusinski G, Angelstam P, Sporrong U


Termination of fire along with active removal of deciduous trees in favor of conifers together with anthropogenic transformation of productive forest into agricultural land, have transformed northern European coniferous forests and reduced their deciduous component. Locally, however, in the villages, deciduous trees and stands were maintained, and have more recently regenerated on abandoned agricultural land. We hypothesize that the present distribution of the deciduous component is related to the village infield/out-field zonation in different regions, which emerges from physical conditions and recent economic development expressed as land-use change. We analyzed the spatial distribution of deciduous stands in in-field and out-field zones of villages in 6 boreal/herniboreal Swedish regions (Norrbotten, Angermanland, Jamtland, Dalarna Bergslagen, Smaland). In each region 6 individual quadrates 5 x 5 km centered on village areas were selected. We found significant regional differences in the deciduous component (DEC) in different village zones. At the scale of villages Angermanland had the highest mean proportion of DEC (17%) and Jamtland the lowest (2%). However, the amounts of the DEC varied systematically in in-field and out-field zones. DEC was highest in the in-field in the south (Smaland), but generally low further north. By contrast, the amount of DEC in the out-field was highest in the north. The relative amount of DEC in the forest edge peaked in landscapes with the strongest decline in active agriculture (Angermanland, Dalarna, Bergslagen) Because former and present local villages are vital for biodiversity linked to the deciduous component, our results indicate a need for integrated management of deciduous forest within entire landscapes. This study shows that simplified satellite data are useful for estimating the spatial distribution of deciduous trees and stands at the landscape scale. However, for detailed studies better thematic resolution is needed to determine biologically relevant differences in quality of deciduous stands

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2003, Volume: 32, number: 8, pages: 520-526

      SLU Authors

    • Angelstam, Per

      • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Mikusinski, Grzegorz

        • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication identifier


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