The journal news feed presents the editors’ condensed summaries of key findings from selected scientific papers from SNS’ two scientific journals Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research and Wood Material Science & Engineering.
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Mapping mites’ habitats in a boreal forest
Mites are important components of biodiversity in northern forests. Many depend on fruiting bodies of wood-decaying fungi and other microhabitats of dead wood. A Norwegian study examined distributions of 10 species of mites of the genus Carabodes in habitats of boreal forests. Seven of the species were found in both soil and fungi fruiting bodies (sporocarps), view one only in sporocarps and two only in soil. The authors found that the mites tolerated different sporocarp species, but they are still vulnerable if dead wood and sporocarps are lacking in the forest.
Read more in: Hågvar, S. Et al. 2014. Mites of the genus Carabodes (Acari, Oribatida) in Norwegian coniferous forests: occurrence in different soils, vegetation types and polypore hosts. Scand J For Res 29(7), 629-638.
Who bites the trees? DNA diagnostics identify culprits
Browsing by animals is a major problem in young forests, but identifying those responsible for damage to twigs and stems is often challenging. New DNA diagnostic techniques enable analysis of the species that took the bite. In a study from central Sweden, damage to Scots pine trees was suspected to be caused by red deer. However, after DNA diagnostics it was shown that three quarters of the damage was actually caused by moose. Thus, the diagnostic methodology can yield important information on multispecies assemblages.
Wood ash can change treeless mire to forest
Ash is a waste product of bioenergy generation, but also a rich source of plant nutrients. Currently, there is a debate on the need to recycle the ash to the forest. Ash addition usually has minor effects on mineral soils, since the nitrogen is lost during combustion. However, the addition of mineral nutrients can have important effects on peatland. A long-term Norwegian experiment has shown that adding wood ash to a formerly treeless mire resulted in a tree stand with a mean annual increment of 14 cubic meters per year at the age of 51-68 years. Thus, ash with appropriate contents is well suited for fertilizing peatland.
Ash may be beneficial for fertile mineral soils
A Swedish experiment has examined growth effects of ash application and nitrogen fertilization. Observations after 5-15 years showed a strong growth response to nitrogen fertilization, but small and non-significant effects of wood ash alone. However, stem-wood growth tended to increase on fertile soils and decrease on poor soils after adding ash. So, on fertile sites, ash may compensate for the temporary growth reductions that follow whole-tree harvests, when important mineral nutrients are removed from the forest.
Spruce dominance in southern Sweden predates industrial forestry
In southern Sweden there has been a shift from broadleaved mixed forests to the current dominance of Norway spruce. This is partly due to natural migration of the spruce, but most of the volume increase occurred in the 20th century. A novel analysis, using both paleoecological and National Forest Inventory data, has shown that the spruce volume rapidly increased between 1920 and 1950, before the large-scale introduction of spruce-dominated plantation forests. Abandonment of forest grazing and slash-and-burn cultivation are two plausible explanations for the “sprucification”.