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Jónsson, Jón Ásgeir, 2016. Natural regeneration on clear cuts in Southern Sweden : how fencing, soil treatment and distance from broad-leaved forest affect tree regeneration and ground vegetation. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



The forests of Europe have seen a dramatic shift in structure, species composition and area coverage
in the last centuries. Large areas previously covered by a mixed broad-leaved forest are now used for
agriculture or other land uses. Additionally the forest management saw changes with the
optimization of wood production as a main goal, using monocultures of conifers and clear cutting
becoming prevalent. This development, although so far economically successful, has major
disadvantages. With the decline of suitable habitat, the biodiversity connected to broad-leaved
ecosystems is now under threat. Furthermore frequent storm falls and pest outbreaks have hit
monocultures severely and the uncertain effects of climate change on individual tree species has
reinvigorated the economic argument for risk spreading and moving back to the more resilient mixed
forests system. Thus, effective and preferably inexpensive methods are needed to restore preferred
mixed broad-leaved forests in desired locations.
This paper will cover a research conducted on clear cuts that were made in 2011 in southern Sweden,
previously covered with planted stands of Norway spruce, Picea abies. The aim was to examine the
effects of soil treatment, fencing and distance from broad-leaved forest on the natural regeneration
of woody species and on the ground vegetation. All naturally regenerated tree saplings that had
reached a height of 30 cm were recorded and the ground vegetation was assessed with a cover
estimate. The significance of the treatments on the quantity and height of saplings and the flora
coverage was evaluated with a General linear model.
Five species represented 96% of the recorded tree regeneration, Betula spp. (B. pendula, B.
pubescens), Salix caprea, Pinus sylvestris and Populus tremula. Statistical analysis focused on these
species. The natural regeneration produced on average ca 4500 trees/ha. Fencing had a significant
positive effect on the height of all the four most numerous species (Betula ssp., S. caprea, P.
sylvestris, P. tremula) and on the P. sylvestris regeneration. Soil scarification increased the quantity of
S. caprea and P. sylvestris. Notably, distance from a broadleaved forest had no significant impact on
height or quantity of overall individuals or within species. The models were most suited to predict
the observed variance for S. caprea and P. sylvestris (R-sq. ~50-68%) while least apt at explaining the
variance in Betula ssp. (R-sq. ~26-36%).
The results indicate that distance from broad-leaved forest is not an important factor in the early
stages of natural forest regeneration. Pioneer tree species dominate the clear cuts and saplings of
noble broadleaves are either not present or very scarce. Unstable seed production, short seed
dispersal and unfavourable conditions on new clear cuts might limit the colonization of noble
broadleaves and connected ground flora. Though fencing and soil treatment had a positive effect on
number and height of individuals of some species, the plots without any treatment (no fence, no soil
treatment) managed to produce roughly 3000 seedlings/ha containing a mix of species. The ratio of
P. sylvestris and S. caprea present is, however, much lower without treatment. These species are
important for forest biodiversity and their increased density alone might justify fencing. Future
research is needed to document the progression and what species will prevail after this initial colonization phase.

Main title:Natural regeneration on clear cuts in Southern Sweden
Subtitle:how fencing, soil treatment and distance from broad-leaved forest affect tree regeneration and ground vegetation
Authors:Jónsson, Jón Ásgeir
Supervisor:Brunet, Jörg and Löf, Magnus
Examiner:Agestam, Eric
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för sydsvensk skogsvetenskap
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:SM001 Euroforester - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:natural regeneration, forest restoration, pioneers, noble broadleaves, Picea abies, soil scarification, fencing, distance from broad-leaved forest, Raslångens ekopark
Permanent URL:
Subjects:Forest injuries and protection
Deposited On:09 Feb 2016 15:13
Metadata Last Modified:09 Feb 2016 15:37

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