Karlis Dumins, Toms Stals, Dagnija Lazdina


In Latvia one third of the total forest area is regenerated by planting tree seedlings and therefore it is important to choose the appropriate soil preparation method and the right type of regeneration material for each forest type. Usually the success of afforestation is evaluated by how high is the average seedling survival rate and growth parameters like height, annual increment, diameter at breast height while the location of the seedling is disregarded. This may be of great importance since in such stands the environmental conditions typically are not entirely homogenous. Micro topography differences impact seedling growth, because it modifies water regime, temperature, micronutrient availability, sun radiation and other factors.
Therefore, aim of this work is to improve monitoring methods and determine the most efficient soil preparation and seedling preparation combination to improve the quality of forest regeneration. That could be done using ASTA documentation system originally developed to show seedling and mound location and density in planting area during mechanic planting. But it also allows to link the precise location of the seedling and growing conditions with its growing rate and survival and therefore it is easier to exclude seedlings that are affected by other factors than those that you are interested in, so you can gain more representative results. This also could be used in forest management. When using ASTA system it is also possible to display how different tree disease are distributed in the stand, if they have spread eventually or localized only in some parts of the stand, also it can be used for browsing and other tree damage monitoring in the stand.
In conclusion: in harsh environmental conditions on unprepared forest soil and soil prepared in furrows made by disc trench larger seedlings show better survival rate. Survival of seedlings is significantly impacted by micro topography, whereas mounded micro sites equalize local environmental conditions that reduce impact of micro topography.

Keywords: forest regeneration, ASTA system

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