Silviculture has been based on growing stands of the same age. Global warming and declining forest biodiversity are challenging traditional forestry methods and forest research. Mixed forests are thought to be one way to increase biodiversity and sustainability in the future.

Senior Scientist at Natural Resources Institute Finland in the SEKAVA mixed forest project Saija Huuskonentells about the future research use of the planted mixed forests in Tornator’s land. The project explores the growing options of Norway spruce, silver birch and Scots pine mixed forests by establishing long-term experiments that will follow the development of the stands for decades. The experiments are cultivated as plots of single tree species as well as mixed tree species. This allows to compare the development of mixed stands to single tree species development.

The purpose of the SEKAVA-project is to determine how the current mixed-forest seedlings and young forests have developed. In addition, the growth speed of three species in mixed sands and the management practices to maintain the mixed stands are studied. Another purpose is to find suitable regeneration and seedling management methods to grow a monocyclic mixed forest.

“At Tornator, we decided to joint the mixed forest project by offering Natural Resources Institute Finland suitable areas for research, by providing seedlings of the desired origin and by cultivating the areas according to instructions,” says forestry manager Maarit Sallinen.

The reason why the forestry company is interested in growing a mixed forest is that it sees the type of productive and diverse forestry based on natural tree species as a good way to prepare against climate change problems and forest damage.

“We also think that by supporting a variety of forest species, microbial life and natural dynamics of the soil and by preventing monoculture our forests will more likely remain healthier, grow better and be more resilient against a variety of attacks. The development of mixed forests is also one of targets of Tornator’s Biodiversity Program. And of course the landscape looks better, which is a bonus!” summarises Sallinen.

Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland

Saija Huuskonen, Senior Scientist at Natural Resources Institute Finland