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Long-term variation in Scots pine seed crop size and quality in northern Finland

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Quantitatively and qualitatively good Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seed years are rare in northern areas because of the short growing seasons. The seed crop size was studied in four natural pine forests in northern Finland during 1960-2004. Data on seed crop quality were collected during 1986-2004 and quality was determined by X-ray radiography. The long-term average annual seed crop of pine was 77 seeds m-2, varying from 5 to 225 seeds m-2. The expected average annual germination percentage of the seed crop was 61%, varying from 7 to 81%. General linear models were used to analyse the size and quality of the seed crop. Independent variables explained 52% of the variation in annual seed crop quality, and no proper model was found for determining the size of the seed crop; the coefficient of determination was only 5%. A combination of more than 100 seeds m-2 and an expected germination percentage of over 50% was observed once during the years 1986-2004. In most years, natural regeneration in northern Finland is difficult and often limited by the seed crop's quality as well as quantity. These results confirm the importance of seed tree cutting in abundant seed crop years to enable the natural regeneration of pine.
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Keywords: Expected germination percentage; Scots pine; regeneration; seed crop

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Oulu University of Applied Science, Oulu, Finland 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovaniemi, Finland

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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