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Olsson, Johanna, 2024. Tree regeneration in protected forest areas : the potential influence of large ungulate populations on tree regeneration. First cycle, G2E. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



In a time marked by human-induced environmental changes and an alarming loss of biological diversity, understanding on how to safeguard natural values has become a pressing concern. Forest ecosystems, shaped by various factors including ungulate browsing, face challenges in sustaining tree regeneration, especially in areas with high ungulate populations. By comparing tree seedlings within fenced and unfenced areas, this study assesses browsing impact on tree regeneration and seek to answer the question, if fencing can be used as a tool in protecting tree regeneration suffering from browsing damages within protected forest areas?
Fenced plots, seven by seven metres, were established during 2017-2018 to exclude ungulates in nature reserves, in southern Sweden, with different intensities of browsing pressure. Alongside, control plots were additionally established. An inventory was conducted in two nature reserves where field studies focused on tree regeneration quantity, species identification, and browsing damage assessment. Statistical analyses compared data from 2018 and 2024 inventories.
Results provide insights on the persistent effect ungulate browsing puts on tree regeneration in areas with a high browsing pressure. The reserve with a high browsing pressure showcased a much higher number of seedlings, a lower proportion of browsed seedlings and a greater height growth where browsing had been excluded. Statistical analysis reveals browsing's influence on seedling height growth, even in areas with medium to low browsing pressure, notably impacting species like beech. Small fences were conclusively effective in mitigating damage where browsing pressure was high, and if placed strategically with enough light availability they could promote seedling growth.
Future research should monitor the long-term development of seedling growth to further explore the dynamics between browsing and tree regeneration.

Main title:Tree regeneration in protected forest areas
Subtitle:the potential influence of large ungulate populations on tree regeneration
Authors:Olsson, Johanna
Supervisor:Hedwall, Per-Ola
Examiner:Brunet, Jörg
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:SK001 Forest and Landscape (BSc) 180 HEC
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:protected Forest Area, tree regeneration, browsing
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Deposited On:25 Jun 2024 11:02
Metadata Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 01:06

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