The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of temperature applied during short day-induced budset on induction of dormancy in six ecotypes of Betula pubescens Ehrh. and two ecotypes of Betula pendula Roth. Seedlings were grown in a phytotron at constant temperatures of 9-21°C under a 12 h photoperiod (SD) during dormancy induction. Induction of dormancy was monitored by following bud flushing and shoot growth after transfer to long photoperiod conditions (24 h) at 18°C. Chilling requirement was studied in seedlings exposed to 10 weeks of SD. In both species induction of bud dormancy developed most rapidly at 15-18°C, and both 9-12°C and 21°C delayed the induction of dormancy. Raising the temperature (from 9 to 21°C) applied during induction of dormancy significantly increased the chilling requirement. These responses were noted for all ecotypes tested, but in general the northern ecotypes entered dormancy more quickly than the southern ones. No such trend was recorded for chilling requirement, although a B. pubescens ecotype from Iceland and another from the coast of northern Norway appeared to require a longer chilling treatment than the other ecotypes. In conclusion, induction and depth of bud dormancy in birch are significantly affected by temperature conditions and these effects may explain some of the annual variation in dormancy and chilling requirement observed in nature.