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Review article2008Peer reviewedOpen access

Stump removal to control root rot in forest stands. A literature study

Vasaitis, Rimvydas; Stenlid, Jan; Thomsen, Iben M.; Barklund, Pia; Dahlberg, Anders


Tree stumps are expected to be increasingly used for energy production in Fennoscandia, thus environmental consequences of stump removal from forest land must be assessed. Aim of this work was to compile available data on the efficacy of stump removal in eradication of root rot fungi (Heterobasidion, Armillaria, and Phellinus), and to review its potential impacts on establishment and productivity of next forest generation. Site disturbance and some technical and economical aspects are discussed, and needs for future research outlined in northern European context. The review demonstrates that stump removal from clear-felled forest areas in most cases results in, a) reduction of root rot in the next forest generation, b) improved seedling establishment, and c) increased tree growth and stand productivity. Observed disturbances caused to a site by stumping operations are normally acceptable. The available data strongly suggests that possibly many (if achievable, all) rot-containing stumps must be removed during harvesting of stumps. Provided equal availability, the priority should be given for stump removal from root rot-infested forest areas, instead of healthy ones. As most studies were done in North America and Britain, several questions must be yet answered under Fennoscandian conditions: a) if and to which extent the conventional stump removal for biofuel on clear-felled sites could reduce the occurrence of Heterobasidion and Armillaria in the next forest generation, b) what impact is it likely to have on survival of replanted tree seedlings, and c) what consequences will there be for growth and productivity of next forest generation.


Armillaria; biofuel; forest disturbance; Heterobasidion; Phellinus weirii; stand growth

Published in

Silva Fennica
2008, Volume: 42, number: 3, pages: 457-483