Seedlings and regeneration procedures for future birch forests

The decisions that are made in the regeneration phase are of great importance for the future forests. Thus, successful regeneration is a key factor when growing forests for biomass production.

To be able to develop new techniques, to adapt to environmental changes and significantly increase the amount of birch planted, questions related to plant production and plant establishment are the basis. The goal of this project is therefore to understand factors that affect the success of plant production and plant establishment as well as how different management practices can increase growth and survival of artificially regenerated seedlings. Today birch seedling production is expensive and volumes are small. The cost of plant production is affected by seed quality, production system, disease control and plant/container size. In order to cut costs and significantly increase production we need to develop new and better production concepts.

Both biotic and abiotic factors are causing stress in newly planted seedlings, and by increasing our understanding of how the physiological processes in plants work and how they respond to different factors in the environment, this stress can be reduced by applying proper silvicultural measures. Seedling morphology, root system functioning and nutrient conditions in both plants and soil and how these factors are affected by nursery regimes and site preparation methods are some of the questions that will be answered in this project.

Not only the biological aspects are important. Planting is a relatively expensive and time-consuming process. Still, planting is often performed manually in the field and within the chain from nursery to field there are several logistic issues that need to be solved. A more mechanized and streamlined chain would reduce planting costs. The seedlings produced and the silvicultural measures applied in the field must therefore not only be adapted to biological conditions, but also to reduce costs and fulfill the needs required when the level of mechanization increases.

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