Management of Mixed-forest: Diversity to forests and bioeconomy (ManDi)
Management of mixed forests could be beneficial especially due to increased biodiversity, strengthened vitality and improved resilience, and thus being more adaptive to environmental changes.
The aims of the project are:
1. To improve the understanding of dynamics and management of mixed forests in changing climate and operational environment
2. To assess the management alternatives to increase species mixture in production forests
3. To assess the long-term impacts of increased species mixture on forest resources and ecosystem services from stand to national levels in Sweden and Finland
4. To disseminate the results into practice by providing decision support for multipurpose forest management
ManDi project analyse available mixed species experiments jointly in Sweden and Finland and validate current growth models. Therefore, ManDi provide scientific knowledge to support silvicultural decisions and guidelines for management of mixed stands. Scenario-analyses of long-term potential and impacts of mixed forests management to meet the goals of sustainable and multifunctional forest management support regional- and national-level policy making.
This project is highly valuable to increase, strengthen and consolidate the collaboration between Finish and Swedish researchers from Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (SLU). The leader and principal researcher from SLU is Emma Holmström, with the collaboration of Jorge Aldea and Urban Nilsson.
The establishment and management of mixed forests
In this recently established project, we will address issues related to the establishment of mixed forests. We will determine whether we need to adopt alternative planning tools when managing mixtures rather than monocultures. We will identify better ways of managing production stands designed around two main tree species over the full rotation.
In addition, we will refine pre-commercial and commercial thinning operations to the effective and efficient management of mixtures. Within this project we will work primarily with pine-spruce and birch-spruce mixtures.
The use of simulation models will play an integral role in our assessment of the long term implications of management decisions in mixed-species stands.
In a sub-project, we will investigate how information about the spatial arrangement of the individual trees within a stand can increase the precision of growth models.
The spatial grain of the mixture: Biodiversity and aesthetic implications
There is an increasing body of knowledge on the biodiversity and aesthetic benefits of mixed production forests over monocultures. In contrast, far less is known about the importance of the spatial scale of mixtures in determining such outcomes.
In this project we investigate the implications of mixing production stands for biodiversity and aesthetics, specifically from creating such mixtures at three different spatial grains; at the individual tree level, in groups, or as adjacent monocultures consisting of two different tree species.
We expect that the spatial grain of the mixture will influence the habitat provided by forest areas, and how these lands are perceived by forest users. Identifying these synergies or trade-offs should help forest owners make more informed decisions regarding optimal pathways for mixture creation.
Novel two-storied mixed forest alternatives
Our goal is to develop innovative forest management practices for the benefit of the southern Sweden forestry and energy sectors.
To do so we will establish and evaluate novel approaches of two-storied mixed forests that combine increased provision of biomass with high value timber. For example, two-storied mixed plantations can combine slow-started tree species valuable for high quality timber and for environmental purposes in long rotations with fast-growing tree species in short rotations for biomass production.
European mixed forest network
Many of us at the department are actively involved in the European research network EuMIXFOR. The aim of this "Cost action group" is to increase knowledge about mixed forests from a European perspective.
The motivation to increase knowledge exchange regarding mixtures throughout Europe stems from the potential for mixed forests to have
(i) higher resistance to disturbances, both human and natural,
(ii) higher biodiversity
(iii) higher carbon sequestration capacity, and thus a greater contribution to climate change mitigation strategies,
(iv) higher adaptive capacity to climate change, and
(v) higher productivity.