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Fifty Years of Landscape Transformation in Managed Forests of Southern Finland

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Intensive forest management has changed both local and regional characteristics of Fennoscandian forest. However, quantitative documentation of landscape transformations is rare. In this study, five forest landscapes were examined in order to define and quantify forest landscape transformation in southern Finland from the 1940s to the 1970s and 1990s. These areas of 140-200 km2 contained both private and state-owned forests. Digital aerial photographs of each area were classified into no-canopy forest (clear-cut and seedling stands, open mires) and closed-canopy forest (young and mature stands). Patch density, mean patch size, largest patch index and edge density calculated for closed-canopy patches indicated fragmentation from the 1940s to the 1970s and recovery from the 1970s to the 1990s. Trends were very similar in both ownership groups. Thus, fragmentation of closed-canopy forests has not progressed continuously in southern Finland, but shows different patterns depending on the period. However, the recovery observed between the 1970s and 1990s does not necessarily mean an increased abundance of the natural old-growth areas that are needed to host many of the currently threatened species.
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Keywords: BOREAL; CHANGE; ECOLOGY; FOREST; FRAGMENTATION; HISTORY; LANDSCAPE; PATTERN

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu, PO Box 111, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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