Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Stand Volume Production in the Subsequent Stand during Three Decades Remains Unaffected by Slash and Stump Harvest in Nordic Forests

Jurevics, Arnis; Peichl, Matthias; Egnell, Gustaf


The renewable energy policies of the European Union rely on forest biomass in achieving climate mitigation targets. In Sweden, where secondary residues from the forest industries are fully utilized, primary residues following harvest such as stumps and slash offer a potential as an additional biomass source. Stump and slash harvest may, however, have adverse effects on site productivity due to increased nutrient loss from the site which could negatively impact the stand volume production of the subsequent stand. Stand volume production is also affected by seedling survival, seedling input from natural regeneration and management of the regenerated stand. In this study, we evaluate the effects of stump and slash harvest on stand volume production of the subsequent stand based on data from eight experimental sites across Sweden planted with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) or Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) over period of 31-34 years after clearcut with (1) traditional stem-only harvest; (2) stem and stump harvest; (3) stem and slash harvest; and (4) stem, stump and slash harvest. With the goal to explain treatment differences in stand volume production, treatment effects on site productivity estimated through initial height growth (10-19 years after planting), seedling survival, and input of seedlings through natural regeneration were also analyzed. We found that stand volume production was higher following stump harvest as compared to slash harvest, but stand volume production for the more intense harvest treatments (2)-(4) did not differ from stem-only harvest (1). Initial height growth (i.e., site productivity) did not differ between treatments, but followed the trend in stand volume production with (2) > (4) > (3) > (1). Survival of planted seedlings was not affected by the treatments, whereas natural regeneration after 5 years was significantly increased after both treatments including slash harvest (3) and (4) in comparison to stem-only harvest. However, since most of that natural regeneration was removed in subsequent pre-commercial thinnings, this initial increase did not affect stand volume production. The absence of a significant interaction between treatment and species planted for all independent variables tested suggests that there were no species related response differences. Since the experimental design did not allow for site-level analyses, we cannot exclude the possibility that site-specific harvest treatment effects might have masked general effects across all sites. Thus, slash and stump harvest effects at the site level need to be further studied. These results suggest, at least over a 3-decade perspective, that logging residues like stumps and slash can provide an additional renewable energy source to help achieving climate change mitigation goals in the Nordic countries without depleting the future forest biomass resource.


forest biomass utilization; whole-tree harvest; stump and slash biomass; stand volume; soil disturbance; natural regeneration; forest management; boreal forest; seedling survival; bioenergy

Published in

2018, Volume: 9, number: 12, article number: 770Publisher: MDPI