REPORTS


Alueelliset ympäristöjulkaisut 277,
Kainuun ympäristökeskus
2002
Pohjois-Suomen vanhojen metsien suojelun ekologinen kestävyys.
Toimittaja: Hanna Heikkilä.



Annual Report 1998
  • Progress and results of research during the reporting period

  • Scientific relevance, applicability and utilization of research

  • Activities of social relevance

  • Degrees completed within this project

  • Promotion of equality


  • Mid-term evaluation

  • Project activities

  • Funding

  • Progress and results of research

  • Drawbacks

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the consortium itself and as a part of the FIBRE programme

  • Assessment of the functioning of the FIBRE programme in relation to the programme objectives






  • Annual Report 1998

    Progress and results of research during the reporting period 1998

    Task 1. Population biology of the trembling aspen (Populus tremula) and the taxa associated with it in boreal forests

    We have continued the large-scale mapping of aspen and willow In Kuhmo started in 1997. Altogether ca 80 km2 have been mapped. In 1998, we have continued extensive studies on lichens (Mikko Kuusinen, Laura Kivistö, Tuija Konttinen) and insects (Mikko Kuussaari, Harri Lappalainen, Juha Siitonen, Gergely Varkonyi) in the mapped area, to investigate the influence of the abundance and spatial distribution of host trees on the occurrence of aspen-specializing taxa. Results so far: one Master's thesis (Tuija Konttinen) and one completed manuscript (Weidong Gu et al.). The most intensive work has been focused on the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria, which is one of the focal species in the project (Mikko Kuusinen, Laura Kivistö). This work includes statistical and mathematical modelling of the spatial patterns and dynamics (Weidong Gu) as well as genetic studies (Jodie Painter, Laura Kivistö).

    Task 2. The significance of reserve networks, ecological corridors, stepping stones, and source-sink dynamics in maintaining biodiversity in boreal forests.

    The most significant piece of work in this task is the study of species richness in and the rate of loss of species from small fragments of old-growth forest. Fifteen fragments in the size range from 5 to 100 ha were studied in northern Häme in 1998. These fragments became isolated a long time ago, hence the main issue here is the effect of fragment size on species richness and loss of species. We have sampled a large range of taxa, including birds and mammals, the full range of insects, lichens and fungi, in the fragments. Especially the insect samples are very time-consuming to process and this work has not yet been completed.

    A large project on the population biology of the flying squirrel in two study areas in southern Finland has been continued (Ilpo K. Hanski, Vesa Selonen). This work has produced 3 papers/manuscripts. Jodie Painter is currently developing microsatellite markers for the flying squirrel. We have already accumulated a large number of tissue and hair samples waiting to be analysed for the spatial population structure, breeding structure, and level of inbreeding in flying squirrel populations. Atte Komonen has studied the insect community structure on two species of old-growth forest bracket fungi (2 manuscripts). Much work has been conducted on the beetle Phyto kolvensis, which is one of the focal species in the project (one Master's thesis and one manuscript). Another focal species in the project is the fungus Phlebia centrifuga. Reijo Penttilä has done large-scale field experiments on spore dispersal, with very promising preliminary results. This work relates to the project of Paula Siitonen, associated with our project though funded separately (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry).

    Task 3. Modelling of the dynamics of forest-dwelling fungi, plants and animals.

    Dr. Weidong Gu joined the project in May 1998 to work on the modelling task. His main focus so far has been the spatial structure and dynamics in the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (one manuscript) and modelling of spatial dynamics in the increasingly fragmented forest area in which the fragment study (task 2) in Kuhmo has been conducted.

    Task 4. Knowledge transfer to forestry and conservation.

    Mikko Kuusinen has written a 64-page booklet on forest biodiversity for the UPM-Kymmene company, to be used as a framework and guideline for the development of forestry practices in forests owned by the company. Ilkka Hanski is a member of the advisory panel on landscape ecological planning in the Forest and Park Service.


    Scientific relevance, applicability and utilization of research

    Our results add to the ecological knowledge basis that is needed for conservation and ecologically sustainable forestry. It is widely agreed that there is little solid understanding of many of the key processes, for instance dispersal and extinction-proneness of small populations in boreal forests. Some very basic issues, such as to what extent general species-area arguments apply to boreal forests in Finland, have not received real attention from researchers. These questions are of utmost practical importance.We have a strong modelling component in our project, which can be expected to ultimately produce results that will be useful for conservation and forestry. Specifically, we hope to find answers to the following types of questions: What is critical density of specific microhabitats in boreal forests for long-term persistence of ecologically specialized taxa? What is the critical level of connectivity required for the spread of species? What is the generl length of time delay in population extinctions from fragments of old-growth forest? How should one estimate the areal requirements for conservation of old-growth forest taxa?

    We do not pretend that we have yet answers to all these questions, but we have made progress in accumulating relevant empirical data and understanding, in formulating more specific questions, and in exploring possible ways of answering these questions.

    Paula Siitonen´s project, associated with the main project but funded seperately (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) has a practical aim. Heuristic multidimensional optimizing method is a highly parametric GIS based tool, which can use e.g. GIS, species data and forestry inventory data of Forest and Park Service and other forest companies. It can be used in the assessment of the representativeness of conservation area network and for the comparison of landscape ecological plans in the sense of many short or long term conservation goals and cost functions at the same time. This kind of applications are needed in every day forest and conservation planning.


    Activities of social relevance

    Ilkka Hanski has actively participating in the national debate about old-growth forest conservation and the development of new forestry practices. He has spoken in several meetings in 1998. He is a member of the advisory panel on landscape ecological planning in the Forest and Park Service.

    Mikko Kuusinen has written a 64-page booklet on forest biodiversity for the UPM-Kymmene company, to be used as a framework and guideline for the development of forestry practices in forests owned by the company.

    Atte Komonen is an expert member representing the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation in a national panel dealing with the public-owned green areas (parks, recreational areas etc) (Vihervuosi 2000 -project).

    The project gave a 1-day presentation about the results for the local people in Kuhmo in February 1998. Management and conservation of forests occupied by the flying squirrel has recently been a highly debated issue in Finland. The are severe contrary interests between conservation and forest management. Our project has been in collaboration with Finnish Forest and Park Sevice, Ministry of Environment, Metsätalouden kehittämiskeskus TAPIO, Kaakkois-Suomen Metsäkeskus and Lounais-Suomen Metsäkeskus and also associations of nature conservation. Information of our research results have been presented in several occasions to specialists in forestry and nature conservation. Our aim is to produce practical proposals to forest-management practicies in forests both owned by private land owners and the state.


    Degrees completed within this project

    Name: Laura Kivistö
    Basic degree: MSc
    Sex: F
    Year of earning the above degree: 1998
    Major subject: Systematic and eclological botany
    University of the above degree: University of Helsinki
    Department of the above degree: Department of Ecology and Systematics
    Degree completed within the project: M.Sc.

    (We have also two students, Tuija Konttinen and Lauri Saaristo, who have finished their studies this year, but still have not get their papers out from the University. Both have done their Master thesis in the Biodiversity in Boreal Forests group.)


    Promotion of equality:

    There are two women amongst the six post graduate students working in the project and one woman amongst the four post docs.





    Mid-term evaluation

    Project activities

    The project has had 4-5 half-a-day or full day meetings per year. The meetings have consisted of planning of research and of presentations of current research and results.

    The project gave a 1-day presentation about the results for the local people in Kuhmo in February 1998. We have also actively participated in all relevant FIBRE workshops and meetings.

    The core of the research conducted in this project consists of ecology. Two other significant elements are population genetics and statistical and mathematical modelling, both of which were started in earnest in 1998, with the arrival of two post docs (Jodie Painter and Weidong Gu). We have started collaboration with Dr. Antti Penttinen (Jyväskylä yliopisto) on statistical modelling.

    We have discussed possible collaborative research with two other forest projects funded by FIBRE and directed by Dr. Timo Kuuluvainen and Prof. Erkki Tomppo. It is expected that these collaborations will start in 1999.


    Funding (1997-1998)

    Total FIBRE funding:

    Academy of Finland 762.500,-
    Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 340.000,-

    Other funding:

    a) Most of our field research takes place in the Research Centre of the Kainuu Regional Environment Centre in Kuhmo. Our joint research with the Research Centre is funded by the Ministry of Environment. The annual support has been ca 1 million FIM.

    b) Jodie Painter is employed as a post doc in Ilkka Hanski's Metapopulation Research Group (MRG). She is the team leader of the Molecular Ecology Team in the MRG. Much of her work is focused on old-growth forest specializing taxa and hence her work makes a major contribution to the Biodiversity in Boreal Forests -project.


    Progress and results of research

    Task 1. Population biology of the trembling aspen (Populus tremula) and the taxa associated with it in boreal forests

    In Kuhmo, we have initiated a major field study to map the spatial distribution of the aspen and the goat willow in large tracts of old-growth forest (Teeri-Lososuo area) and more managed forest (Jauhovaara area). In the summers 1997-98, ca 80 km2 have been mapped, either as single trees (where the density of aspen and willow is low) or at the resolution of 1 ha (where the density of aspen and willow is high). The field work has been done by a large number of field technicians employed by the Research Centre in Kuhmo and trained by our project (Reijo Penttilä).

    Of the original aims of this task, we have achieved the following:

  • To quantify the species diversity associated with aspen in boreal forests. In the summers 1997-98, we have conducted extensive studies on lichens (Mikko Kuusinen, Laura Kivistö, Tuija Konttinen) and insects (Mikko Kuussaari, Harri Lappalainen, Juha Siitonen, Gergely Varkonyi) in the mapped area, to investigate the influence of the abundance and spatial distribution of host trees on the occurrence of aspen-specializing taxa. Results so far: one Master's thesis (Tuija Konttinen) and one completed manuscript (Weidong Gu et al.).
  • To study the population biology and metapopulation dynamics of selected aspen-associated taxa. - The most intensive work conducted so far is focused on the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria, which is one of the focal species in the project (Mikko Kuusinen, Laura Kivistö). This work includes statistical and mathematical modelling of the spatial patterns and dynamics (Weidong Gu) as well as genetic studies (Jodie Painter, Laura Kivistö). We plan to select a few other species for an intensive study in the future.
  • To estimate the critical density of aspen at forest and landscape levels for the long-term survival of specialist species. - The dynamic modelling of L. pulmonaria directly addresses this issue. The preliminary results are encouraging. The extensive insect sampling conducted in 1998 (Mikko Kuussaari and others) should also allow us to assess the importance of local and regional aspen density on the persistence of specialized insect species.
  • We have failed to achieve the following:

  • To study the population biology and dynamics of aspen in managed and virgin forests. - We failed to recruit a student to initiate these studies in 1998, but plan to do so in the future. Possible collaboration with Prof. Erkki Tomppo's FIBRE project would make a contribution here (use remote sensing techniques to study spatial patterns in the occurrence of aspen).
  • Plans for 1999-2002: We plan to continue both the mapping of aspen and willow and the biological studies on aspen-specializing species in the mapped area during the entire duration of the project.

    Task 2. The significance of reserve networks, ecological corridors, stepping stones, and source-sink dynamics in maintaining biodiversity in boreal forests

    We have achieved all the original aims of this task:

  • To assess the significance of small fragments of old-gwroth forests as stepping stones, parts of more extensive networks, and as locations where species may have populations temporarily.
  • The most significant piece of work related to this aim is the study of species richness in and the rate of loss of species from small fragments of old-growth forest. Twenty fragments of ca 10 ha in size were studied in Kuhmo in 1997. These fragments varied in terms of the time since they became isolated. Fifteen fragments in the size range from 5 to 100 ha were studied in northern Häme in 1998. These fragments became isolated a long time ago, hence the main issue here is the effect of fragment size on species richness and loss of species.

    In both cases, we have sampled a large range of taxa, including birds and mammals, the full range of insects, lichens and fungi, in the fragments. Especially the insect samples are very time-consuming to process and this work has not yet been completed. In Kuhmo, we are digitizing forest maps for the period 1950-95 at 5 year intervals to document the history of forest fragmentation in the study area. This information is needed for modelling (Task 3).

    We have a large project on the population biology of the flying squirrel in two study areas in southern Finland (Ilpo K. Hanski, Vesa Selonen). This work has produced 3 papers/manuscripts. Jodie Painter is currently developing microsatellite markers for the flying squirrel. We have already accumulated a large number of tissue and hair samples waiting to be analysed for the spatial population structure, breeding structure, and level of inbreeding in flying squirrel populations.

  • To empirically test the significance of ecological corridors and stepping stones in facilitating the movement of forest taxa.
  • A large-scale experiment on the signficance of ecological corridors was conducted in summer 1997, using the spruce forest specialist moth Xestia rhaetica (Mikko Kuussaari). Unfortunately, though the species has been regularly common in odd years in Kuhmo, it was unexpectedly scarce in 1997 and the sample size remained small. The experiment worked otherwise very well and will be repeated in the summer 1999 in the same place as in 1997 (Mikko Kuussaari and Gergely Varkonyi).

  • Forest fragmentation and the food web structure of insect communities. - Atte Komonen has been working as a post graduate student in this project. He has already written 2 manuscripts out of his studies.
  • Much ecological work has been conducted on the beetle Phyto kolvensis, which is one of the focal species in the project. This work has produced one Master's thesis (Lauri Saaristo) and one manuscript (Juha Siitonen et al.). Another focal species in the project is the fungus Phlebia centrifuga. Reijo Penttilä has done large-scale field experiments on spore dispersal, with very promising preliminary results. This work relates to the project of Paula Siitonen, associated with our project though funded separately (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry).

    Task 3. Modelling of the dynamics of forest-dwelling fungi, plants and animals

    Dr. Weidong Gu joined the project in May 1998 to work on the modelling task. His main focus so far has been the spatial structure and dynamics in the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (one manuscript) and modelling of spatial dynamics in the increasingly fragmented forest area in which the fragment study (task 2) in Kuhmo has been conducted. We expect that much progress will be made in the modelling in 1999.

    Task 4. Knowledge transfer to forestry and conservation

    Mikko Kuusinen has written a 64-page booklet on forest biodiversity for the UPM-Kymmene company, to be used as a framework and guideline for the development of forestry practices in forests owned by the company. Ilkka Hanski is a member of the advisory panel on landscape ecological planning in the Forest and Park Service. Mikko Kuusinen will be employed by the Ministry of Environment from February 1999 onwards, with the understanding that he will maintain a close contact with our project and the research community in general. This arrangement will greatly facilitate knowledge transfer to administration.


    Drawbacks

    The two largest empirical projects conducted in Kuhmo - on the spatial distribution and biology of aspen and willow and associated taxa, and on species richness in small fragments of old-growth forest - have taken more time and effort than anticipated. We have only limited results so far: one manuscript by Atte Komonen et al. on the insect community inhabiting the bracket fungus Fomitopsis rosea, comparing the forest fragments and more continuous old-growth forest; one Master's thesis by Tuija Konttinen; and one manuscript on the spatial patterns in the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (Weidong Gu and others). Much of the effort in 1997 and 1998 went to organizing the field work, collecting samples, and organizing the identification of very large insects samples. We do not plan to continue the field work in the coming summers and will now completely focus on the analysis and modelling of the data. We can expect that the efforts in 1997-98 will yield much a rich body of results in the coming years.

    The large area in which the aspen and willow have been completely mapped would allow exceptionally interesting studies on the population biology of the aspen and willow themselves. So far we have failed to find an undergraduate student for this task. We are thinking about recruiting a PhD student to study aspen and willow population biology if funding can be obtained.

    The modelling work was delayed by the failure to locate a suitable post doc for this task. Dr. Weidong Gu was employed in May 1998, and the work is now progressing well.


    Strengths and weaknesses of the consortium itself and as a part of the FIBRE programme

    A definite strength of our project is the wide range of biological expertise that we have, covering insects, fungi and lichens, the key taxa on which our work has been focused. Another strength is the collaboration with the Research Centre of the Kainuu Regional Environment Centre in Kuhmo, which makes it possible to conduct very large-scale field work. Finally, we have sufficient expertise in modelling and the use of genetic markers in ecological studies to allow us to incorporate strong modelling and genetic components in the project. As the modelling and genetic studies were properly started only in summer 1998, we do not have yet many results, but the prospects are here good for the next few years.

    There are no obvious weaknesses in the project as such, given the original primary aim of the research: "to increase our understanding of the ecology and dynamics of forest-dwelling species in boreal forests, and thereby introduce the presently lacking element of population biology and ecology into the landscape ecological planning of forestry."

    It could be argued that our project does not have a sufficiently strong applied component, but this is not necessarily so. Our primary task as ecologists is to increase the biological knowledge basis for conservation and forestry. It is widely agreed that there is little solid understanding of many of the key processes, for instance dispersal and extinction-proneness of small populations in boreal forests. Some very basic issues, such as to what extent general species-area arguments apply to boreal forests in Finland, have not received real attention from researchers. These questions are of utmost practical importance.We have a strong modelling component in our project, which can be expected to ultimately produce results that will be useful for conservation and forestry.

    So far we have worked largely on our own, but we expect increasing collaboration with two other FIBRE projects in 1999 and onwards, those directed by Prof. Erkki Tomppo and Dr. Timo Kuuluvainen. We have already discussed with both of them specific questions that could be profitably studied in collaboration.


    Assessment of the functioning of the FIBRE programme in relation to the programme objectives

    FIBRE has been a very active research program and FIBRE coordination has been positively proactive in its contacts with individual projects and research teams. It would be unrealistic to expect that the full potential of FIBRE could be realized, or even anticipated, only after a period of 1.5 years. The signs are positive, and I expect that FIBRE will make a truely significant contribution towards the end of its duration. It may also have a longer lasting consequence in forging collaboration between researchers and research teams working in the same area. The progress that has happened in this respect in the ‘forest sector' of FIBRE is promising. Among other things, we are now talking about writing a book together, and an increasing amount of collaboration is taking place.

    Student training component has been satisfactory. The coordination could possibly do more here, e.g. by soliciting national workshops and training courses in different sectors of FIBRE.

    I believe that there is a sufficient international element in FIBRE. The science of ecology in Finland is in any case already so well integrated into the international research and training community that there is no real need to be concerned about this in particular research programs.