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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Short-term response to stump harvesting by the ground flora in boreal clearcuts

Andersson, Jon; Dynesius, Mats; Hjalten, Joakim


We studied short-term ground vegetation responses to stump harvesting by recording the occurrence of all species of bryophytes, vascular plants and the cover of soil disturbance on 20 clearcuts in the Southern and Middle Boreal zone in northern Scandinavia. All 20 clearcuts were slash-harvested and scarified and 10 of the clearcuts were also stump-harvested. The added effect of stump harvesting was assessed by comparing stump-harvested clearcuts with non-stump-harvested clearcuts. We tested whether stump harvesting causes extra soil disturbance compared to conventional forestry and if stump harvesting is affecting the assemblage, species richness and occurrence of individual species of vascular plants and bryophytes in boreal clearcuts. Our results revealed that stump harvesting causes an increase in the area of disturbed soil surface compared to conventional harvesting. Four of the most commonly occurring plant species in this area were significantly affected by stump harvesting, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea had a median occurrence of only 20% of that in non-stump-harvested clearcuts. The large impact on some plant species from a relatively modest increase of soil disturbance caused by stump harvesting suggest that stumps, with their slightly elevated bases, contributes to the survival of certain species on clearcuts


Stump harvesting; bryophytes; clearcut; vascular plants; boreal; stumps

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2017, Volume: 32, number: 3, pages: 239-245