LITCOAST is about management of coastal forests of Lithuania, sustaining and enhancing forest health through silviculture.
A Marie Curie Host Fellowship for Transfer of Knowledge
Coastal forests and dune vegetation are important ecosystems. They represent a considerable value to society as habitats for plants and animals, and as places for human recreation. The aim of this project is to enhance the health and sustainability of coastal forests and dune vegetation in Lithuania. This will be achieved by collaboration and transfer of knowledge between the Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology in Sweden, and Kretinga Forest Enterprises and Kursiu Nerija National Park in Lithuania. A number of objectives are included in the project.
The role of pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms
We are investigating the effect of nursery cultivation systems and different coastal environments on microorganisms that infect or interact with tree seedlings. We study the symptoms of infection and isolate the pathogenic organisms. We also identify symbiotic associations between microorganisms and plant roots. We analyse how mycorrhization affects the survival and growth of seedlings and if nursery cultivation systems have an effect on seedling mycorrhization.
The influence of silvicultural practises on forest health
A comparison is made between gaps that are currently present in forests along the Lithuanian coast and gaps in the same forests thirty years ago. The dynamics of gap development is analysed in relation to the silvicultural measures that have been employed during the thirty-year time period. The results will be used to develop a guideline for sustainable management and to reduce future losses. During the work several experimental sites are being established. These sites will be used as permanent plots for future research.
Using maple, black locust and rugosa rose in the coastal vegetation
We are evaluating the impact of maple species (Acer spp), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) on the coastal biodiversity. The susceptibility of maple and black locust to the root rot fungus is investigated in order to determine if they can be used for planting on sites previously infested with the fungus. We are also studying the fungal biodiversity and root ecology in the coastal vegetation. This will help us understand the reasons for the poor success of afforestation in some areas.
Transfer of knowledge
Transfer of knowledge between the Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology (Mykopat), Kretinga Forest Enterprises (KFE) and Kursiu Nerija National Park (KNNP) constitutes a considerable part of the project. Researchers from Mykopat will learn about coastal silviculture and gain insight into the practical handling of forest health problems from the KFE and KNNP staff. Vice versa, staff from KFE and KNNP will be trained by Mykopat researchers and will be acquainted with the laboratory methods used in modern forest pathology.
The knowledge gained from the project will also be transferred into society by popular science articles and publications in scientific journals.