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Research article1997Peer reviewed

The history and transformation of a Scandinavian boreal forest landscape since the 19th century

Östlund, Lars; Zackrisson, Olle; Axelsson, Anna-Lena

Abstract

We investigated the transformation of a large (135 000 ha) forest landscape in boreal Sweden from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century. Historical documents were used to obtain quantitative data on fire influence, historical logging, the development of forest management, and the ecological changes of the forest landscape over the last century. The imprint of the fire-regenerated preindustrial forest is still discernible in the present landscape, although very important ecological structures; e.g., old trees and multiple-storied stands, have been removed and fundamental processes, e.g., forest fire, have ceased. The 19th century boreal forest landscape was shaped by recurrent forest fires and was characterized by continuous multistoried old-growth forest, containing also a deciduous component that no longer exists. Our data indicate that many of the interpretations of previous natural landscape properties used as base-line conditions in forest management must be seriously questioned. Historical records and their limitations when used for reconstruction of forest stand structure are discussed.

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
1997, Volume: 27, number: 8, pages: 1198-1206 Publisher: NATL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA

      SLU Authors

    • Östlund, Lars

      • Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Zackrisson, Olle

        • Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • Axelsson, Anna-Lena

          • Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Forest Science

        Publication identifier

        DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/x97-070

        Permanent link to this page (URI)

        https://res.slu.se/id/publ/64824