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Sayn, Alina, 2021. The effect of forestry and cervid densities on annual growth of ericaceous shrub species. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



Ericaceous shrubs, such as bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), cowberry (V. vitis-idaea), and heather (Calluna vulgaris), dominate the understory in Swedish forests. Their important role of providing forage for wild deer is well established. Human-wildlife conflicts arise when there is a shortage in forage forcing deer to switch to feeding on young production trees. Due to current forestry practices involving dense planting of coniferous trees under short-rotation regimes, there has been a steady decline in the appearance of these shrubs. Here, I identified the role of various forestry-related factors, such as basal area and forest age, as well as soil characteristics and cervid browsing pressure, on the annual production of biomass of the ericaceous shrubs by collecting data on the biomass proportion produced over the last growing season under different forest conditions. While the annual growth of the shrubs was highly affected by the forest’s basal area and time since clear-cutting, the effect of cervid browsing pressure did not show any significant influence. Furthermore, there was a significant difference in the impact on the annual growth between Scots pine- (Pinus sylvestris) and Norway spruce- (Picea abies) dominated forest stands. Shrubs found in spruce forest stands were significantly more negatively affected by basal area and time since clear-cutting than in pine stands. Soil characteristics also differed significantly between both forest types. My findings suggest that in order to secure long-term forage availability for wild deer, which leads to reduced conflicts with forest owners, forestry practices including the planting of coniferous trees, especially spruce, in dense monocultures, have to be avoided.

Main title:The effect of forestry and cervid densities on annual growth of ericaceous shrub species
Authors:Sayn, Alina
Supervisor:Felton, Annika and Juvany Canovas, Laura
Examiner:Lindbladh, Matts
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:production forest, conifer, silviculture, plant-animal interaction, forest management, ungulate
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Forestry production
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:27 Sep 2021 10:59
Metadata Last Modified:28 Sep 2021 01:01

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