The demographic structure of European aspen (Populus tremula) populations in managed and old-growth boreal forests in eastern Finland
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
European aspen (Populus tremula L.) is a keystone species for biodiversity in boreal forests. However, large aspen have largely been removed from managed forests, whereas regeneration and the long-term persistence of mature trees in protected areas are matters of concern. We recorded the numbers of mature (≥20cm diameter) aspen in old-growth and managed forests in eastern Finland, based on a large-scale inventory (11400ha, 36000 living and dead trees). In addition, saplings and small aspen trees were surveyed on thirty-six 1 ha sample plots. The average volumes of mature living and dead aspen were 4.0 and 1.3m3/ha in continuous old-growth forests and 0.2 and 0.6m3/ha in managed forests, respectively. These results indicate that large aspen trees in managed forests are a legacy of the past, when forest landscapes were less intensively managed. We conclude that the long-term persistence of aspen in protected areas can only be secured by means of restoration measures that create gaps large enough for regeneration to occur. More emphasis should be given to sparing aspen during thinning and to retaining mature aspen during regeneration cutting in managed forests.
Tarja, Latva-Karjanmaa, Penttila, Reijo, and Sittonen, Juha. 2007. The demographic structure of european aspen (populus tremula) populations in managed and old-growth boreal forests in eastern finland. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37(6): 1070-1081.