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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Natural Regeneration in a Multi-Layered Pinus sylvestris-Picea abies Forest after Target Diameter Harvest and Soil Scarification

Drossler, Lars; Fahlvik, Nils; Wysocka, Natalia K.; Hjelm, Karin; Kuehne, Christian

Abstract

Forest management in Sweden can be characterized by even-aged silviculture heavily relying on three established harvest regimes: clearcutting, the seed-tree method, and the shelterwood system. Less intense, small-scale retention harvest systems such as single tree and group selection harvest are rarely used. In addition, natural regeneration dynamics without enrichment planting have barely been studied. Consequently, this study examined natural regeneration establishment in a multi-layered Pinus sylvestris-Picea abies forest stand in southwest Sweden after target diameter harvesting and soil scarification. The creation of forest canopy gaps had a positive effect on total seedling density five years after harvest, mainly due to a significantly higher number of Betula pendula individuals. Seedling density of more desirable tree species suitable for continuous cover forestry such as Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea and Picea abies also increased substantially in gaps when compared to pre-harvest conditions or the unharvested plots. In contrast, soil scarification did not increase the number of seedlings of desired tree species due to a significant decrease in Picea abies abundance. Soil moisture and gap size significantly improved Betula pendula seedling establishment while a larger number of Quercus petraea seedlings were observed in Vaccinium myrtillus patches. We conclude that canopy gaps are beneficial under the encountered stand conditions to initiate forest regeneration, and that soil scarification without the timely occurrence of a mast year of desired tree species is not effective in the type of forest studied.

Keywords

Sweden; continuous cover forestry; heterogeneous stand structure; regeneration density; seedling height growth

Published in

Forests
2017, Volume: 8, number: 2, article number: 35
Publisher: MDPI AG