Annals of Silvicultural Research (Apr 2018)

Marginal/peripheral populations of forest tree species and their conservation status: report for Baltic region

  • Mari Rusanen,
  • Tor Myking

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 41, no. 3
pp. 19 – 22


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The Baltic region includes in this report Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Poland. This region is fairly heterogeneous as regards forest history, forest policy, forest economy as well as climate and conditions for forest growth. The climate of the Baltic region is cool, but still drastically modified by the Gulfstream which skirts the western coast of Scandinavia, giving rise to much warmer summers and milder winters than expected based on the latitude. The warming associated with climate change is expected to be particularly pronounced in winter and at high latitudes. In coastal areas precipitation may increase notably. With elevated temperature, the frequency of both spring frost and drought events is predicted to increase in continental parts. The vegetation and forest types are heterogeneous. Fennoscandia has a large proportion of boreal vegetation where coniferous forests dominate and many broadleaves common in Central Europe are rare and scattered. In the Baltic region the most distinct marginal populations are those at the northern fringe of their distribution. The distribution ranges are limited by a combination of different factors such as low winter temperatures, short growing season either for growth or for seed maturation, soil types and human influence. Fragmentation may limit gene flow between stands, and some populations also show slight inbreeding. The countries in the region have protected jointly 4,9 M ha in the main MCPFE categories. The northern part of the region seems to put more weight on nature conservation through no intervention whereas the southern part emphasizes conservation through active management. The countries of the Baltic region have uploaded altogether 1'172 in situ genetic conservation units in the European Information System on Forest Genetic Resources (EUFGIS).